Tags: Kosovo | War Crimes

Kosovo PM Cancels Trip to US for Talks with Serbia

Kosovo PM Cancels Trip to US for Talks with Serbia

Thursday, 25 June 2020 03:39 AM

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s prime minister on Thursday cancelled his trip to Washington where Kosovo and Serbian leaders had planned to meet for talks at the White House.

Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said he cancelled the trip after the country’s president, Hashim Thaci, and nine other former separatist fighters were indicted on a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges.

Hoti told U.S envoy Richard Grenell of his canceled trip, a decision that is likely to torpedo the talks. Thaci cancelled his trip to Washington after learning of his indictment Wednesday.

The Washington meeting on Saturday was to be the first talks between the two countries in 19 months. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a move Serbia has not recognized.

The prosecutor for the Kosovo Specialist Chambers said Thaci and the nine others “are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” involving hundreds of Serb and Roma victims, as well as Kosovo Albanian political opponents. Other charges include enforced disappearance, persecution and torture, he said.

A pretrial judge at The Hague-based court is studying the indictment and could still reject it if there is not enough evidence to back it up.

Thaci was a commander of the Kosovo Liberation army, or KLA, that fought for independence from Serbia. The fighting left more than 10,000 dead — most of them ethnic Albanians — and 1,641 are still unaccounted for. It ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign that forced Serbia troops to stop their brutal crackdown against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Those indicted include Kadri Veseli, former parliament speaker and leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo, who considered the indictment politically motivated.

The indictment was the first made by the prosecutor of the special tribunal for Kosovo based in The Hague. The court has been operating since 2015 and has questioned hundreds of witnesses. Kosovo’s prime minister resigned last year before he was questioned.

Tensions between Kosovo and Serbia remain high. European Union-facilitated negotiations to normalize their relations started in March 2011 and have produced some 30 agreements, but most of them were not observed.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


   
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Kosovo's prime minister on Thursday cancelled his trip to Washington where Kosovo and Serbian leaders had planned to meet for talks at the White House.Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said he cancelled the trip after the country's president, Hashim Thaci, and nine other former...
Kosovo,War Crimes
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2020-39-25
Thursday, 25 June 2020 03:39 AM
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