US Welcomes Kosovo’s Agreement With Serbia

Posted February 24th, 2012 at 4:40 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States has welcomed the agreement between Serbia and Kosovo on regional issues reached Thursday in Brussels after three days of arduous negotiations.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told VOA's Albanian Service Friday that the agreement is a very significant step for Kosovo. She contacted VOA's Albanian Service by phone from Tunisia, where she is attending a meeting on Syria. She said the U.S. government is committed to Kosovo's strength and its enduring partnership with the United States.

“We are fully committed to her independence, her territorial integrity, her sovereignty and I commend the government under Prime Minister (Hashim) Thaci for its constructive attitude and hard work in the EU-facilitated dialogue with Serbia. The United States has supported this process from the beginning and we know that this is a tough political choice, but it is going to move the people of Kosovo closer to European integration. And we think that's very much in the interest of all Kosovars.”

The U.S. secretary of state dismissed concerns some Kosovo ethnic Albanians have about a concession made to Serbia regarding the country's name. She said the footnote attached to Kosovo's name referring to a 1999 United Nations resolution (when Kosovo was a part of Serbia's territory) will in fact persuade many U.N. member nations who have not yet recognized Kosovo to do so.

“U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 in fact paved the way to Kosovo's independence. It required Serbia to remove security forces (from Kosovo). The International Court of Justice carefully considered (Resolution) 1244 and the whole world knows the conclusion (with) which we firmly agree that Kosovo's declaration of independence does not violate Resolution 1244. So I actually think this is a very smart, very clever and very brave decision on the part of the (Kosovo) government because it will move Kosovo closer to Europe and it will increase the number of countries that will recognize it.”

Clinton also pointed out that the deal enables Pristina to send its representatives to international and regional meetings where it can look out for its own interests. This, she said, increases Kosovo's chances to interact with European Union members that have not recognized it as Pristina works towards becoming a bloc member one day.

Clinton urged Kosovo's people to support the progress that has been made by the government after only four years of independence, and said the United States is looking forward to further cooperation with Kosovo.