Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Obama "supports Kosovo independence"

23 September 2008 | 09:43 | Source: Politika
WASHINGTON --
Democrat candidate for the White House Barack Obama has told voters of Albanian descent that he supports Kosovo independence.

Barack Obama (FoNet, archive)
Barack Obama (FoNet, archive)

In a letter to the National Council of U.S. Albanians drafted at a ceremonial dinner on Friday, where former U.S. negotiator Frank Wisner and Congressman Eliot Engel received awards for their support to the Albanian community, Obama—who did not attend the event—stressed that as president, he would continue to monitor events in the Balkans closely.

“I support Kosovo’s independence and her desire to move towards full sovereignty. I believe that the U.S. should help develop a strong democracy in Kosovo that will be guaranteed by the application of laws that safeguard the interests of all people. I support Kosovo’s integration in Euro-Atlantic institutions, and that will best be accomplished by creating a free, tolerant and wealthy society that promotes minority rights and protects religious and cultural monuments,“ said the senator for Illinois, who, according to the latest opinion polls, has a narrow lead over Republican rival John McCain.

In the letter to Americans of Albanian origin, Obama underlines that his administration would assist in the construction of infrastructure and the energy sector in the province, and the interest of U.S. capital in that area is reflected by the fact that as many as three U.S. companies are competing for the contract to build a new thermo-power station there, states Politika.

This constitutes the Democrat candidate’s first address to U.S. Albanians (of whom there are, according to his team’s estimates, over 500,000), while Albanian media add at the same time that this is an attempt to “clarify“ earlier statements given by Obama linked to Serbia and the Serbs that had caused concern among the Albanian diaspora.

The daily points out that the senator’s HQ have released statements on a number of occasions stressing their support for Serbia’s EU integration, supporting the rights of Serbs in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia, though he has made it clear that he considers Kosovo to be “Serbia’s neighbor“.

Pri┼ítina daily Koha Ditore reported Obama’s comments on its front page under the title, “Obama promises Kosovo full sovereignty“, reports Politika.

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