Monday, April 25, 2005

Albania's foreign minister on visit to Kosovo

Albanian Foreign Minister Kastriot Islami will meet with international and local officials in Kosovo on Monday, as the disputed U.N.-run province nears the start of negotiations on its future status.

Islami is to meet with the top U.N. official Soren Jessen-Petersen, the province's Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi and other officials during his two-day stay.

Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations since 1999, following NATO's war aimed at stopping a crackdown by Serb forces on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians.

Albania is likely to play an important role in the talks on Kosovo's future. Negotiations on whether Kosovo becomes independent or remains part of Serbia-Montenegro are expected to start later this year. First, the province must meet internationally set benchmarks on the protection of minorities, rule of law and democracy.

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