I welcome and strongly support today's announcement by the International Steering Group that international supervision of Kosovo's independence has come to an end. After nearly four and a half years, fulfillment of the provisions of the Comprehensive Settlement Proposal is a major achievement for all citizens of Kosovo. With the optimism, energy and determination characteristic of its people, Kosovo has made significant progress in solidifying the gains of independence and in building the institutions of a modern, multi-ethnic, inclusive and democratic state. There is more work to be done, as Kosovo's leaders now assume full responsibility for ensuring that the principles enshrined in its declaration of independence and constitution are realized for every citizen. Kosovo must also continue to engage constructively with its neighbors and work to resolve outstanding issues, in particular those with Serbia. Doing so will reinforce Kosovo's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will serve to promote the stability upon which the region's Euro-Atlantic prospects depend. On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the government, parliament and people of Kosovo on this historic milestone, in which Kosovo takes another important step toward its rightful place in a free, whole and peaceful Europe.