Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland assembly group to visit Kosovo

William Hay
Image caption William Hay will lead the delegation to Kosovo

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay, is to lead a delegation on a two-day visit to Kosovo.

The invitation to the country has been extended by the President of the Assembly of Kosovo, Jakup Krasniqi.

The visit will take place on the on 28 and 29 March.

Mr Hay will be accompanied by Northern Ireland assembly members Judith Cochrane and David McClarty on the trip.

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 and the European Union.

They will also meet with the Mayor of Pristina and the Mayor of Mitrovica.

The delegation will also have an opportunity to meet with people from Northern Ireland who are working in Kosovo giving assistance to the region.

Mr Hay said the official visit would mark the next stage in the development of cooperation between the 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," he said.

"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 secretariats on parliamentary services.

It follows a number of visits by political representatives from Kosovo to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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 plus £594 for accommodation at Heathrow Airport.

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