Press Release

Speaker Leads Delegation on Official Visit to Kosovo

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Monday, 26 March 2012

Reference: SO 17/10/12

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay, will lead a delegation on a two-day visit to Kosovo. The invitation for the Speaker to make an official visit to the country has been extended by his counterpart His Excellency the President of the Assembly of Kosovo, Jakup Krasniqi.

During the visit on 28 and 29 March 2012 the delegation will meet with the President of the Assembly, the President and Prime Minister of Kosovo, leaders of opposition political parties and representatives from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe & the European Union. The delegation will also meet with the Mayor of Pristina and the Mayor of the divided city of Mitrovica.  They will also have an opportunity to meet with people from Northern Ireland who are working in Kosovo giving assistance to the developing region.

Speaking ahead of the visit William Hay MLA, Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, who will be accompanied by Judith Cochrane MLA and David McClarty MLA, said "I am delighted to be invited to lead a delegation to visit the Assembly of Kosovo. This official visit marks the next stage in the development of cooperation between our two Assemblies. Kosovo is a relatively new independent country, having emerged from a period of conflict, and I believe there is much to be gained from working together.

“The Northern Ireland Assembly has benefited greatly over the years from international assistance and I am delighted that we have this opportunity to help Kosovo develop their parliamentary services.”

The visit will mark the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Assembly of Kosovo to increase cooperation between their respective Secretariats on parliamentary services and follows a number of visits from political representatives from Kosovo to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Notes to Editors:

1. The official visit to Kosovo will mark the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Assembly of Kosovo to cooperate on the provision of research & information and information technology services.

2. The invitation to the delegation from the Northern Ireland Assembly to visit Kosovo followed from the attendance at a peace building conference in Parliament Buildings by His Excellency the President of the Assembly of Kosovo.

3. The delegation includes The Speaker, Judith Cochrane MLA (representing the Assembly Commission) and David McClarty MLA (representing the Northern Ireland Assembly Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) and two Assembly officials. All costs of the delegation in Kosovo will be met by the Assembly of Kosovo, and the cost of return economy flights for the delegation is £3,719.35 plus £594.00 for accommodation at Heathrow Airport.

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