Ambassador of Finland in Pristina Anne Huhtamäki hosted a farewell reception in Pristina. In her speech Ambassador Huhtamäki expressed her appreciation for good cooperation with Kosovo institutions, civil society and international organizations during the past two and a half years in Kosovo.
Being in Kosovo, she experienced four rounds of elections, met the Kosovar and the Finnish football teams and was especially amazed by the young talented Kosovar people.
The reception was attended by many dignitaries and friends who came to say goodbye in appreciation of Ambassador’s commitment and dedication to Kosovo.
Please find the Ambassador’s speech below.
Speech at the Farewell Reception
I am so happy to see all of you here today. I wish you warmly welcome.
Today I have specials news for you:
Finland elected the President yesterday. It was a landslide victory for re-election of President Sauli Niinistö. We can celebrate that tonight!
However, the real reason for inviting you here tonight is that in the life of a diplomate, my term in Pristina is now ending and I wanted to invite you to express my appreciation for these past years working together with you.
Kosovo and Finland have excellent relations. You all know the legacy of President Martti Ahtisaari at the early stages of Kosovo emerging as an independent country. And today, there are 10.000 Kosovars who have their home in Finland. Within the coming years the exchanges between Kosovo and the Finnish Kosovar community will no doubt intensify, also hopefully in the field of trade and business.
Many Finns who have worked in Kosovo, such as in the future myself, are friends of Kosovo in Finland and actively follow and want to continue supporting Kosovo.
My mission from the President of the Republic of Finland and the Government of Finland has been to support strengthening stability, the rule of law and the European perspective of Kosovo.
Between friends, we can also talk about issues of concern. Events during the last two months in Kosovo, in December and in January have, unfortunately, given me reason to worry.
In Kosovo, the Kosovars and especially the young talented Kosovar people have made a strong impression on me. For example tonight, you have listened to talented young Kosovar musicians who despite their young age, are already part of the Kosovo Philharmonic.
There is no question that it is hard to build a new country, especially to build a country the first time ever. But Kosovo is not alone in this. Finland supports Kosovo's European perspective. We will do our part as a member of the European Union, but the European perspective requires that Kosovo, too, does its part. It is hard work but the young people of Kosovo deserve it.
It is my third year in Kosovo. During my term in Kosovo in my work I have experienced, for instance four rounds of elections: Presidential elections, Parliamentary elections and two rounds of municipal elections. I have seen how the democracy in elections and in building up new institutions after them has worked.
In my work, I have dealt with the Government and officials of Kosovo, the civil society and the NGO's. My work has included questions of crisis management, dealing with Kosovar, international and Finnish colleagues in KFOR and in EULEX. I have also closely worked with partners in bilateral development cooperation and EU Twinning projects. And, thanks to my work in Kosovo, I have gotten to meet and congratulate the Kosovar and the Finnish football teams after games.
Thank you for the professional and friendly partnership you all have shown to me while working here as the Representative of the Government of Finland. Let me express my gratitude for your warm cooperation.
The Kosovo Government so kindly and thoughtfully illuminated the Kosovo Government building in December to celebrate Finland's centenary Independence Day. I hope you have the lighting company's contact information left, because the historical 10th anniversary of the Republic of Kosovo is soon, next month.
Dear friends, my warmest thanks to all of you. Faleminderit!