27th October 2014: Austrian National Day Reception in Pristina

 

The offical part was opened by the soprano Besa Llugiqi with the  wonderful song "Ich gehör nur mir" or "I belong to me" from the "Musical Elisabeth", accompanied at the piano by Lejla Pula.

Then the Austrian Ambassador's speech started with welcoming the guests, short remarks to the Musical Elisabeth and the reference to a video message from the Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz. Then the video message was played and the Ambassador's speech continued.

Another short sequence of the musical "Elisabeth" - a duet between Elisabeth and Emperor Franz Josef was performed by Besa Llugiqi together with Safet Berisha and both were accompanied on the piano by Lejla Pula.

To conclude, everybody was attentively listening to the Austrian Anthem sung beautifully by Besa, followed by the National Anthem of Kosovo. After a video abvout the Eurovision song contest 2015 in Vienna the guests were invited to taste Austrian food such as Wiener Schnitzeel, Leberkäse, Bratwürste which further uplifted the already excellent mood.

 

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SPEECH OF THE AUSTRIAN AMBASSADOR at the Austrian National Day celebration in 2014:

 

Madam President,

 

Members of Parliament,

Ministers,

Excellencies, Fellow Ambassadors

Generals

Mayors

Representatives of religious communities, academia, media and civil society

honored guests,

liebe Landsleute!

 

Let me welcome you all tonight for the celebration of this years’ Austrian National Day. As many of you know by now, - this is already the fourth Austrian National Day Reception we are hosting in Kosovo - the Austrian National Day is linked to the Constitutional Law on Austria’s neutrality. On October 26 we celebrate the moment, when Austria regained her independence after 10 years of occupation in 1955.

This years’ celebration I would like to start with a short video message by our Foreign Minister Sebastian KURZ, addressed primarily to Austrians living abroad. 

 

Madam President, honored guests!

Austria has time and again supported Kosovo in many areas in the past and we are honored to have been able to accompany Kosovo on its path to statehood as a close partner and advocate of your rightful aspirations. Honoring those political and often emotional ties between our countries and citizens, it was thus a natural desire for our Foreign Minister Sebastian KURZ to fly to Pristina in February this year and make it his second destination only to visit after taking office. In fact it was even planned to make it his first trip abroad on Dec. 20th last year, but it did not work out for technical reasons.

That Kosovo is still a high priority area for Austria is further underlined by the visit of the Austrian Chancellor Werner FAYMANN to Pristina in July this year. This is of specific significance, as he will personally lead the Berlin-follow-up Conference on the Western Balkans in August next year in Vienna. And on November 27th a visit by the Austrian Deputy Speaker of the Assembly is scheduled for Pristina. I am confident that by that time and for the sake of all your citizens, you will have overcome the current political deadlock and President Kopf will find somebody in his sister organization to talk to.

Honored guests!

It is good from time to time to take stock and see, that personal relations continue to be positive and robust at different levels. It is, after all, people who have made history but it is also people who shape the future.

A history that 100 years ago has lead to the tragedy of WWI. With all the suffering and loss of life, how was it possible that only 25 years later the world ran directly into the abyss of WWII? We know the facts, but we should have learned from history. Well, we did not! The world remained ignorant.

With heavily wounded people throughout the world it took a lot of courage by brave individuals to break the cycle of hatred and violence in order to find the strength to build a different future. This is what we have also seen in Kosovo. At a time after the fall of the iron curtain, when war in Europe seemed inconceivable, you lived through this ordeal. But you also proved to the world that you were able to come up with the right solutions for a positive future your children are longing for. And I am optimistic you will manage to do that again.

But tonight we are here to celebrate. We want to celebrate not only our 25 years wedding anniversary and the fact that my dear wife Roswitha has coped with me for this eternity but we would also like to celebrate that in 2016 Majlinda Kelmendi will go to the Olympic Games in Rio under the flag of Kosova!

Urime Kosove! èestitamo Kosovo!

Regarding Austrian activities only during the last couple of weeks I have wonderful news about the 4 Paws Pristina Bear Sanctuary. I have told you last year already about that. The bears are doing great in the recently enlarged enclosures and are enjoying themselves on their now 5 hectares of forest and scrub. Please go and visit and see for yourselves.

As a special cultural highlight this year the Director of the Ballet at the Opera House in Graz, Mr Darrel Toulon has worked intensively for the last couple of weeks with the Ballet-troop at the National Theatre in Pristina. Under his choreography they will perform “Your stories, my story” on Oct 30 and Oct 31st.

We are also celebrating the first ever “Austrian Week” in Kosova which we opened on Friday in the ALBI MALL and which will last until Nov. 2nd. So please go there and see and taste for yourself fantastic Austrian products.

To get you into the mood you will find some Austrian specialties (like Leberkäse, Schnitzel and Sausages) tonight which will be handed out by our KFOR at different locations in the room. Thank you to Brigadier General WALDNER, Austrian DCOM KFOR and the Austrian NCC Col. MADNER and his team for all the fantastic support given.

It is a strong Austrian KFOR contingent with 530 troops now in Kosovo but also colleagues in EULEX, OSCE, UNMIK and other institutions, who on a daily basis contribute to the positive image Austria enjoys amongst the people of Kosovo and I would like to thank each and every single one of you for that!

Special thanks also to our very generous sponsors tonight

Raiffeisen (Robert), Meridian, BIT Media, SIGMA Insurance, Porsche Kosova, SIGAL Insurance, Kelkos, Plazidus, ASA and HIPP. Without your help, this event would not have been possible. Thank you very much indeed.

Let me also thank my dear wife and my fantastic staff at the Embassy, who have worked tirelessly for weeks to organize this evening and make it all happen.

Before I would like to invite you to join us for the National Anthems (of Kosova and Austria) we will hear one last piece from the musical “Elisabeth”, where Elisabeth will be joined in a duet by Emperor Franz Josef, interpreted by Besa Lluqigi and the Bariton Safet Berisha.

With that the official part tonight will close and we will afterwards screen a short video-invitation to the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna.

Thank you very much! and Happy National Day!

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More photos will follow soon under: http://www.oekg-ks.org/?cid=2,8

 

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