Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Minority rights must be protected in independent Kosovo: US

Wed May 18, 1:55 PM ET

The final status of Kosovo, the UN-administered Serbian province, could be resolved in a little over a year, although historical ethnic divisions remain a concern, a top US State Department official said.

"We need to finish the work of ending the divisive strife that has prevented the countries of the Balkans from advancing politically and economically in line with their European neighbors," US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told a congressional panel.

"We must work hard to help the people of Kosovo find greater security, ethnic reconciliation and peace in 2005," he said.

"Failure to secure a multi-ethnic Kosovo would be a failure of our efforts over the last six years, and indeed the last decade," said Burns.

While a specific timetable has not been set, "we would hope to be able to bring a settlement to the (UN) Security Council sometime before the end of next year," he said in testimony before the US House of Representatives' International Affairs Committee's hearing on Kosovo's current and future status.

The undersecretary, who along with other US officials has been in close contact with European and UN officials, told the committee that Kosovo's final status "must be based on multi-ethnicity, with full respect for human rights, including the right of all refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes in safety."

He also called for "effective constitutional guarantees to ensure the protections of minorities" and for "safeguards for the protection of cultural and religious heritage," noting that it was just six years ago that NATO intervened "in a campaign to end Slobodan Milosevic's reign of terror in Kosovo and halt his attempted ethnic cleansing of the Albanian population" there.

Later, ethnic Albanians sought "retribution," Burns said, driving over 100,000 Serbs and Roma from their homes in Kosovo.

In recent status talks, Washington has raised the issue of protection of minorities after the United Nations pulls out of the region.

"We ... made clear that we expect that the international civilian and military presences would continue in place past a status settlement to ensure its full implementation, and to monitor the political and security situation for Kosovo's minorities," Burns told the panel.

Kosovar and Serbian politicians held their first face-to-face talks since the war in October 2003, agreeing to launch a dialogue on matters of mutual concern such as missing people, energy and refugees.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has offered to meet with Kosovar Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi next Tuesday for first-time top-level talks in the province, where nearly 20,000 NATO troops are still deployed.

Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations since a NATO-led war six years ago ousted Serbian troops. Ethnic Albanians, who represent 90 percent of the population there, are lobbying for full independence.

Talks on the eventual status of Kosovo are dependent on the international community agreeing that the ethnic Albanian authorities there are applying full democratic rights.


Anonymous said...

Albanians have historicaly been able to live with minorities, here are a few examples:

Jewish people, Croats, Bosniaks, Romas, even Serbs till it just became UNBARABLE.

Everyone should note that minority rights WILL be protected because Albanians as a culture dont have tendencies foward supremacy. An example is World War II, when Jewish people escaped Serbia and Croatia and moved to what was then Albania (it included Kosova and other parts outside today's Albania borders).

Now here is the funny part, we were an Axis country, that means Germans were our friends, yet no Jews were sent to murder camps, why?? Because there is NO WAY we could allow such injustice. And keep in mind that Germans promised us an Albania where Albanians would not end up outside its borders, even then we didn't comply with Hitlers plans.

So, looking at history, minority rights will not be a problem. We must be concerned with minority rights in Serbia, especialy of Romas and Hungarians.

To add, I am quite proud to belong to a nation and culture that hasn't got Jewish blood on their hands, or anyone elses infact (unless we were attacked in a very nasty way).

Anonymous said...

The Kosovo Albanian SS Skenderbeg Division Killed thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma. So get a proper history book you surf the internet again.

The Albanians were a minority in Kosovo until they killed and expelled other races.

Anonymous said...

Get your history right Serb dude. We have always been a majority. Remeber we were there before you. Its our land.

And about the Jews why don't you hear their own side of story. They have some wonderful things to say about Albanians. In may 15 there was meeting held in NY by the Albanian lobby, where Senators, Rabbis, Mayor Bloomberg, and Holocoaust survivors were invited. They had some nice things to say. The Jews know their own history and its not up to a Serb to tell them their history.

Arber_Dardani said...

If the Chetniks want to know their real history, they should read, "Serbia's Secret War: Propaganda and the Deceit of History", by Dr. Philip Cohen.

This book is full of evidence and facts on how evil the Serbs were during World War II.

Which would explain how 80% of Serbia's Jewish population was exterminated, that's over 80,000 Jewish people that perished and the Serbs want us to believe that they had nothing to do with that.

The Serbs are well known for their historical revisionism.