PRISTINA: Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti condemned the continuing series of Houthi attacks on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia, and more recently the UAE, agreeing that such assaults reveal the Houthis to be a terrorist group.
“We were appalled by these images and all these attacks. Absolute violence against civilians, which has nothing to do with respect for human dignity, for human rights, for society and community, is something that we can never tolerate and it is our task to always condemn (them),” he said.
Asked whether he agrees that as a result of this deliberate targeting of civilian targets the Iran-backed Houthi militia should be designated as a terrorist group, Kurti said: “Yes, I think that all these attacks on civilians are terrorist actions.”
Kurti spoke to Arab News during an exclusive interview at his office in Pristina to mark the 14th Independence Day of Kosovo. The prime minister lauded his country’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the fields of countering terrorism, intelligence sharing and the ideological battle against violent extremism.
“I think that we have good cooperation and we would like to continue it because when we fight violent extremism and terrorism, and all these kinds of violent fundamentalism, we are on the same page,” he said.
Highlighting the recent wide-ranging reforms that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ushered in under Vision 2030, Kurti said it is his aim to strengthen Kosovo’s ties with the Kingdom.
“I think the people of Kosovo, but also people in the Balkans and in Europe, should know more about the reforms and the progress in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
“We want to strengthen cooperation with Saudi Arabia. It’s a very rich country, both in its culture and history, but likewise in its natural resources and economic development.”
The prime minister invited the Kingdom to invest more in his country and benefit from the reforms and serious anti-corruption measures his government is introducing in Pristina.
“With our government we are fighting corruption; there is no tolerance for corruption,” he said. “And we are also increasing our economy.
“For example, last year we had for two-thirds (of the year) higher exports than the year before. Budget revenues increased by one-third. Likewise, business turnover increased (and) foreign direct investment increased by over 50 percent. This data shows that Kosovo is progressing — and the best way for more progress is to invest in the already existing progress.”
Regarding the opportunities that exist for Saudi and other international investors, Kurti highlighted several potential sectors and stressed that as prime minister, he looks forward to engaging with efforts to promote these opportunities.
“We would like to have more trade exchange with Saudi Arabia and more investments in the health sector, in agriculture and also in energy because we want, just like Saudi Arabia, to invest in renewables, especially solar and wind,” he explained.
“Because the vast majority of our electrical energy is generated by coal thermal power plants, we would like to have more renewables.
“I believe that, together with information and communications technology, and wood and metal processing, these are some of the fields where we can cooperate with Saudi Arabia and I, as a prime minister, look forward to actively engaging in this.”