US Hints at Possible Kosovo Independence

Politics | November 9, 2005, Wednesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0

A top US State Department official has said that crucial talks about the status of Kosovo were ahead.

The statement of Nicholas Burns was widely interpreted as a signal for possible independence of the province.

On Wednesday Bulgaria officially backed the move to decide on Kosovo. Sofia believes that whatever the outcome of talks, it should guarantee stability in the region, the government said.

"They want independence," the American undersecretary of state for political affairs said, referring to the Kosovo Albanians.

"They have to prove that they're worthy of it. And the Kosovar Serbs have to prove that they are willing to stay and be part of that community," Burns insisted.

He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that intense negotiations would start in January 2006, to make a decision that will end Kosovo's status of UN-administered protectorate, which it assumed in 1999.

The province is being protected by NATO-led military forces in an aim to prevent a backlash of violence against the ethnic Serb minority.

About 90% of Kosovo's two-million population are ethnic Albanians, something that has forced many Serbs to abandon the province because of ethnic cleansing fears.
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