Remarks of Ambassador Dell at the WMD and Fulbright Signing Ceremony Ministry of Foreign Affairs
May 23, 2012
Enver, thank you very much indeed. I would imagine that some of our friends in the media here today, are wondering what could possibly be the connection between these two agreements - one about education and cultural exchange and the other about dealing with weapons of mass destruction, and preventing their proliferation. These are obviously very different subject matters, but I think what’s important and the significance of signing them together is that this demonstrates the range and the diversity of the ever-thickening web of contractual relations between the United States and the Republic of Kosovo. The second importance of this, I believe, is that these agreements do not represent a one-way street. Rather, they are agreements about mutually supporting each other. And, these are the kind of relations one expects to see developing between friends, between allies, between two sovereign and independent countries.
I would like to thank in particular, Deputy Foreign Minister Petrit Selimi and the U.S. Public Affairs Officer, at my Embassy, Paul Engelstad, who together took the initiative on the Fulbright agreement to offer on behalf of the Government of Kosovo $100,000 a year for the next three years, to promote education and cultural exchange – Americans coming to live and work to Kosova – and study, and Kosovars going to the United States, to work and study – to further their education. We have some of the visiting American Fulbright Scholars here with us today, as well as several of the Kosovo Fulbright Scholars who’ve now returned and are making contributions to their country. As I say, this is a two-way street, this was an initiative of a Government of Kosovo to offer money to support an American program, and that to me is a striking sign of the growing maturity of our relationship and the mutual support we offer each other. And I think these two agreements taken together with bilateral assistance agreement that I signed earlier this year with the President, as well as the Status of Forces Agreement signed between the Minister and Deputy Secretary of State Burns during his visit here and which we expect will be passed by Parliament tomorrow, are all indications that our relationship is, as the Foreign Minister said, not only is it sacred but it is strengthening, and it is growing all the time and it’s becoming a true partnership. So that I think helps explain why we’re signing these somewhat otherwise disparate agreements together, today.
I want to thank again Deputy Foreign Minister and the Foreign Minister for their cooperation. I think this is a terrific initiative. Education, I believe, holds the future for Kosovo. This money will help further that future. I think I can speak for the Foreign Minister when I say that as the Former Minister of Education, he shares that point of view. And it is my hope that before I finish my assignment here in Kosovo later this year, I’ll be able to participate in signings of further agreements between the Government of the United States and the Government of Kosovo that will take the level of educational exchange to an even much higher degree. And so, please bear with us and watch this space for announcements sometime later this summer.
Minister, thank you again for the opportunity to sign these important agreements with you today.