Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Poland backs 'free and independent' Kosovo: Albanian president
Poland backs a "free and independent" Kosovo, Albanian President Albert Moisiu said Tuesday following a meeting with his Polish opposite number Lech Kaczynski."I was pleased to hear that President Kaczynski, Poland and the Polish nation are ready to support us in favour of stability in the Balkans, and for the freedom and independence of Kosovo," Moisiu told reporters during a joint press conference with Kaczynski.Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of the small Serbian province's population, are demanding independence while Serbia is only prepared to grant the UN-administered region autonomy.The province has been run by a UN mission since 1999, when a NATO bombing campaign ended a crackdown in Kosovo by Belgrade.On Monday, European Union policy chief Javier Solana had said that a decision on the status of Kosovo should be delayed until after Serbia held legislative elections in January, to take the wind out the sails of Serbian hardliners.The Serbian parliament last week passed a new constitution -- backed by voters in a referendum -- that defines the province as an "integral" part of Serbia, but a final UN proposal is expected to grant Kosovo sovereignty.Kaczynski said that Albania played a "stablising role" in the troubled Balkan region and seemed "close" to joining NATO."But the road to European Union membership seems more difficult," he said, although he reaffirmed Poland's support of an "open-door" policy for potential new members of the 25-nation European bloc.Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004, after more than a decade of preparations following the collapse of communist rule.
Posted by KosovaReport at 9:48 PM