Published on: 09 November 2015

Op-Ed published in the French newspaper "Liberation": “Kosovo's membership to UNESCO: a message of peace”

On this 70th anniversary of the UN, when debate over the Paris agreement on climate change is reaching its peak, it is worth recalling the crucial role that UNESCO plays.

"Everything is culture", President Francois Mitterrand  incessantly reiterated. Yet, culture is not an abstract concept, but a tool at the service of equilibrium, steady dialogue and the project of human society at the international level.

The specificity and the main advantage of UNESCO lie precisely in its objectives, as a necessary agency to "build peace in the minds of men."

Within its institutional competence, a few days ago, the Executive Council of UNESCO adopted by two-thirds majority the resolution proposed by Albania. It decided to recommend to the General Conference of the Organization, which is holding its proceedings in Paris, Kosovo's application for membership.

Kosovo, recognized by 111 UN member states and currently a member of many international organizations, is a geopolitical reality in South-Eastern Europe.

Committed to the principles of democracy, protection of human rights and the rule of law, Kosovo continues to affirm and strengthen its European aspirations, as recently demonstrated by the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union in Strasbourg.

In the domestic framework, this international commitment of Kosovo comes after the adoption of a series of constitutional provisions in accordance with the best international practices in the field of protection of fundamental freedoms, often even more advanced.

Therefore, Albania decided to submit the resolution supporting the request of the Republic of Kosovo to join UNESCO, fully confident that the newest state in Europe has a European future and is committed to the continuous and sustainable strengthening of peace.

Membership to UNESCO will allow Europe’s youngest state to strengthen domestic capacities in managing natural resources, protecting cultural diversity, promoting media freedom and further strengthening the protection and promotion of human rights.

Under the supervision and with the assistance of this organization, Kosovo will take special care of its material and spiritual cultural heritage, including monuments already registered on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, which are located in its territory and for which it is held accountable to all mankind.

Membership to UNESCO on one hand, and the importance of protecting historical, cultural and religious heritage on the other, which Albanians and Serbs have shared over the centuries and still share today, are two objectives which support each other.

Kosovo's membership to UNESCO not only won’t affect the important heritage of Kosovo Serbs, but rather create conditions and additional guarantees to protect it.

Albania decided to take the initiative to submit the resolution on Kosovo's membership, moved by its desire to normalize relations and strengthen regional cooperation, in a spirit of good faith and realism. General De Gaulle used to say that "there can be no successful politics outside reality". Albania proposes and invites all Member States of UNESCO to support and vote in favor of Kosovo during this session of the General Conference in Paris.

Albania also calls on Serbia to take this opportunity and show its will for cooperation and loyalty towards undertaken commitments that require from it to break from the dark past and look towards the European future, as a common destination of Albanians and Serbs. This is the true meaning of History and this will be, without any doubt, the next, though unuttered, victory of Culture.