Reuters: Investors won't focus on Kosovo PM allegations

Controversies involving Kosovo’s prime minister and president will not deter investment interest in the newest Balkan country, deputy prime minister Mimoza Kusari-Lila said on Wednesday to Reuters.

She contends investors will not focus on a December report by the Council of Europe’s Human Rights watchdog that said Prime Minister Hashim Thaci headed a mafia-style crime organisation in 1999-2000.

“We need to make sure that we present facts and figures and not story tales about what happened 11 years ago or 12 years ago,” Kusari-Lila said. “The entire nation cannot be kept hostage by a history from when they were a victim.” Kusari-Lila said there is no evidence to support Marty’s report.
These are not Kosovo’s biggest public relations problem, she insisted. Kosovo’s biggest concern is showing that it can sustain economic growth and create jobs.

“If someone wants to bring up prejudice and bring up more obstacles to Kosovo’s integration and Kosovo’s development, then yes, they can find excuses, but I don’t think that’s a real problem. I think the main issue for Kosovo is to show that policies, legislation and institutions function,” she said.

A bigger barrier to investment is the lack of movement of goods, people and money between Kosovo and Serbia, Kusari-Lila said, adding that she was hopeful that technical talks now underway between the two states could alleviate such pressures.

Ultimately, private businesses will base their decisions on the country’s economic performance, the opportunities they see and the quality of their business partner, said Kusari-Lila, who also serves as trade and industry minister.

None of the American firms speaking with her at the Baltimore conference asked about the prime minister or the president, she concluded to Reuters.

“They want to know more about legislation, they want to know more about business opportunities and they want to know more about what the government can do to assist them so they can come and locate in Kosovo.”

Reuters / ECIKS