Tuesday, March 08, 2005

TEXT-Statement of former Kosovo PM after resignation.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian prime minister Ramush Haradinaj resigned on Tuesday and will fly to the Netherlands to face war crimes charges at the United Nations tribunal in The Hague.

Following are excerpts from a written statement he handed out after his resignation, translated from Albanian.

- "We have come a long way since 1999 and now we are close to achieving our independence. All of us must be ready to make the necessary sacrifices in order that our country, after centuries of sacrifice and suffering by our people, finally achieves the independence it deserves. Today, I was called to make one more sacrifice that I never believed would happen."

- "I must tell you that I am innocent of any crime I am charged with. I have always worked to build a democratic society ... which includes cooperation with international justice, regardless of how unjust it might be at this moment. I feel insulted by this process. I feel they are taking me from my job at a time when I am giving the maximum for my country. But I have to accept it for the sake of my country and all of us."

- "The international community made a grave mistake when it created the Hague tribunal, which is treating liberation fighters the same as aggressors who destroyed entire nations and turned the region into ruins. This (indictment) is based on lies prepared in Belgrade and is a result of the trade-off that some have made with the Serbian government to get it to extradite Serb criminals (war crimes suspects)."

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