PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro, May 25, 2006 (AFP) -
The former US general who commanded NATO's 1999 air war against Serbia on Thursday predicted its southern province of Kosovo would become independent within months.
Wesley Clark told Kosovo Albanian leaders in Pristina he had confidence in their "strong, positive and visionary proposals" to find a solution for Kosovo, which has been run by the United Nations and NATO since 1999.
"I am confident that this issue will be solved very soon, and probably in few months, Kosovo will become independent and will respect the rights of all citizens," said Clark.
"I believe that Kosovo will be welcomed into the family of the nations and that there will be many opportunities for the citizens of this country to prosper, raise big families and make their dreams come true."
Clark, who is on a three-day visit to the disputed province, met Kosovo's President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Agim Ceku, who said Clark was a great friend of Kosovo, who stood by it in its most difficult times.
"He is and will always be honored by the people of Kosovo," he said.
Clark commanded the 1999 NATO air strikes that drove Serbian forces loyal to former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic out of Kosovo because of their brutal crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.