Farewell Statement by Norway's Ambassador to Kosovo and Albania

Ambassador Per Strand Sjaastad's farewell statement

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"I am going to leave Kosovo and Albania with very good memories. I have become very fond of the people living here. One has indeed to search very hard to find countries with more friendly people and with more hospitality than in Kosovo and Albania. 

I am optimistic about the long-term future of Kosovo and Albania. There is a lot of energy in the people, a lot of talent and strong engagement. There may still be some temporary setbacks, problems and obstacles. The road ahead may sometimes be a bit bumpy. But you will manage to complete the transition process and stay the course. 

My mission in Kosovo and Albania has been to assist in reaching your objectives, to facilitate development and stability, to promote the reform agenda and Euro-Atlantic integration. The main driver for progress - a genuine willingness to change and reform - must come from inside Kosovo itself, from its people and from its leadership. Building a truly free and fair society is a long and complex process, but it is doable when all good forces mobilize for the cause.

My mission has also been to strengthen Norway's ties with Kosovo and Albania. These ties are steadily growing wider and stronger. We see political visits, cooperation in the energy, maritime and security sectors, joint sports events, cultural performances and increased trade. There is also a substantial increase in Norwegian project support. 

Let me thank everyone for excellent cooperation and partnership during the last three years. I have appreciated all the engagement, team spirit and kindness. I will greatly miss Kosovo and Albania when I this summer leave for my next posting in Brussels. But I can assure you that the new ambassador, Mr. Jens Erik Grøndahl, and his team will carry on and further expand the work we together have set in motion."