President Joe Biden on Sunday will accept an award from the President of Kosovo on behalf of his son Beau Biden for his work helping to strengthen the war-torn country’s justice system, according to a White House official.
Biden’s pre-taped message, which was shared with CNN, will air during a ceremony in Kosovo to formally accept the posthumous presidential medal on behalf of his son, who died of brain cancer in 2015. The award will be presented by Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani.
Biden says in the video that the award is a “great honor,” and that his son “fell in love with the country” when he spent time there. Beau Biden worked in Kosovo after the nation’s 1998-1999 war with military forces and with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to help train prosecutors and judges.
Biden said Beau Biden’s children, Natalie and Hunter, were there as he recorded his address accepting the award.
Biden visited Kosovo in 2016 as vice president when the country named a highway after Beau Biden not far from the American military base there. The President said in the taped message that the experience was “deeply moving” for his entire family and that they are “forever grateful.”
“Beau could see, even then, the future was possible for your proud country. The future of Kosovo has so long been denied. That’s why he was so committed to working with the people of Kosovo to make sure that the war crimes were thoroughly investigated and professionally prosecuted, to help Kosovo build a fair judicial system capable of bringing justice and reconciliation to the country,” Biden said in the in the nearly 5-minute video.
The President reaffirmed the US’s partnership with the nation and said more work remains to be done in the country to fight corruption, protect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, build positive relationships with neighboring nations and bolster economic development
The President said he was happy the US was able to share Covid-19 vaccines with Kosovo. Those doses, he said, would be arriving “within weeks.”
Sunday’s event will take place in the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo building, where the Kosovo legislature meets, the official said. US Ambassador Philip Kosnett will receive the medal, according to the official. A local musician, Shpat Deda, will perform covers of one of Beau’s favorite bands, Coldplay.
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