McClarty visit to Kosovo ‘humbling’

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INDEPENPENT MLA David McClarty has described a recent visit to Kosovo as humbling.

Mr McClarty was accompanied on the trip by fellow MLAs, William Hay, speaker of the NI Assembly and Judith Cochrane.

The invitation was extended by His Excellency, the President of the Assembly of Kosovo, Jakup Krasniqi, following his visit to Parliament Buildings, Stormont in December last year.

Mr McClarty told the Times: “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to visit Kosovo.

“There is no doubt that the links we have made will benefit the people of Kosovo.

“We too can learn much from them when it comes to dealing with the past and the issue of “Rhe Disappeared “. It was a most humbling experience witnessing the difficulties posed for the 40-plus percent of working population who are unemployed.”

During the visit the delegation also met the President and Prime Minister of Kosovo, leaders of opposition political parties and representatives from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Union.

They were also greeted by the Mayor of Pristine and the Mayor of the divided city in Mitrovica.

The visit will further mark the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Assembly of Kosovo to increase cooperation between the two legislatures on the provision of research and information and information technology services.

Both Northern Ireland and Kosovo have emerged from a period of conflict and there is much to be gained and learned from each other by maintaining a close working relationship, said Mr McClarty.