Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Germany welcomes Kosovo leader's resignation after war crimes indictment

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer welcomed the decision Tuesday of Kosovo's prime minister to resign and give himself up to a U.N. war crimes court, arguing that cooperation with the tribunal is crucial to the region's future.

Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said he had been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and would voluntarily give himself up to court authorities in The Hague, Netherlands, on Wednesday.

"Cooperation with ICTY is of outstanding importance to achieve long-lasting development in the entire region -- that is the case for all parties," Fischer told reporters in Berlin. "I believe the international community is called on to take account of this -- such a step, when taken of a person's own free will, deserves support."

Kosovo still seethes with ethnic tensions nearly six years after the end of the 1998-99 war between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority considers Haradinaj a hero in the struggle for independence from Serb rule. But most of the Serb minority sees him as a criminal, along with other past leaders of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army that fought former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's Serb forces.

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