Clinton on Balkan Tour to Promote Reforms

Posted October 29th, 2012 at 4:45 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has begun a tour of the western Balkans aimed at promoting economic and democratic reforms in a region beset with ethnic tensions.

Clinton arrived in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, late Monday from Algeria. In Sarajevo, she and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will meet with members of Bosnia's presidency and discuss issues of governance, budgeting and ownership of state property.

Bosnia's progress after the three-year ethnic war of the early 1990s has been slow, mainly due to disagreements of the country's three major ethnic groups.

Later Tuesday, Clinton and Ashton will travel to Serbia's capital, Belgrade, and proceed to Kosovo's capital, Pristina.

EU officials are urging Belgrade to normalize relations with Kosovo, which have been volatile since the ethnic-Albanian leadership in Pristina proclaimed independence from Serbia in 2008. The United States and many other countries recognize Kosovo's status, but the country's Serb minority, and Serbioa itself, reject the legitimacy of Kosovo's majority Albanian government.

In Croatia's capital, Zagreb, Clinton will hail the country's accession to the European Union next year.

From Zagreb she flies to Tirana to attend the 100th anniversary of Albanian independence.