April 7, 2012
Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaçi ended a three-day visit to Washington on Friday, winning support for Kosovo’s independence and membership in the European Union, but was shunned by president Barrack Obama.
Washington, USA – NewsweeK
Saturday, April 7th 2012 –
Thaçi met with Secretary of state Hilary Clinton on Wednesday and vice-president Joseph Biden on Thursday. He had announced a meeting with president Obama on Friday, but the meeting wasn’t realized and there was no explanation.
At a joint press conference with Thaçi, Clinton hailed a recent EU decision to work on a feasibility study for Kosovo’s membership. “It is a step forward towards Kosovo’s membership in the European Union, which confirms that Kosovo and EU statesmen are determined to strengthen relations,” Clinton said.
Belgrade opposes Kosovo independence, but Clinton pledged continued support to Pristina and called on Kosovo and Serbian leaders to remain “dedicated to dialogue” and to implement recently reached agreements.
Under the auspices of the EU, Belgrade and Pristina recently agreed on joint border control, representation of Kosovo in regional meetings, recognition of university diplomas and exchange of birth and land registers.
Kosovo media reported the meeting with Biden was held behind closed doors and there were no statements. But Thaci’s office said in a statement Biden congratulated him on the “courage for making very important decisions in the interest of Kosovo”.
“Biden gave guarantees that the US will remain maximally engaged in Kosovo and will demand implementation of all agreements reached,” the statement said.
In 2008 Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia and has been recognized as an independent country by around 90 states, including the United States and most members of the European Union. However, Serbia has never accepted the move and still considers the territory its southern province, leading to continuing tensions between Belgrade and Pristina.