US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday the United States fully supports Kosovo as it seeks EU membership, but said such a path also means the normalization of relations with Serbia.
“The United States is firmly committed to Kosovo’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to seeing the rule of law extend throughout Kosovo. We oppose any discussion of territorial changes or reopening Kosovo’s independent status,” Clinton said, adding that, “These matters are not up for discussion. The boundaries of an independent, sovereign Kosovo are clear and set.”
At the same time, Clinton said, “Normalization of relations is key to future progress for both Serbia and Kosovo.”
Clinton made the comments in Pristina, Kosovo, after meeting with that nation’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.
“The United States fully supports the aspirations of the Kosovar people to be integrated into Europe and the Euro-Atlantic Alliance,” Clinton said, adding that “We believe the dialogue that the Prime Minister has begun with (EU High Representative) Cathy Ashton and the Prime Minister of Serbia is absolutely essential. It provides the path to long-term stability, prosperity, and peace for people here and throughout the region.”
Clinton added that the U.S. is working closely with the European Union and High Representative Ashton to advance the political dialogue that has begun.
Clinton also had glowing words for Thaci, who recently met with Serbian counterparts.
“I personally want to commend the Prime Minister,” Clinton said. “Prime Minister Thaci took a political risk – I know a little bit about political risks – in going to this meeting in Brussels. It was the right decision. It was courageous and it was smart.”
Clinton’s message was similar to the one she delivered Tuesday in when she was in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Clinton said Tuesday that it is totally unacceptable that 17 years after the war ended in Bosnia some people still question Bosnia-Herzegovina’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Such talk is a distraction from the problems facing the country and serves only to undermine the goal of European integration. The Dayton Accords must be respected and preserved, period,” Clinton said.