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Biden ends Balkans tour with message of cautious hope | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 22.05.2009
At the end of a three-day visit to Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo, US Vice President Joe Biden said that the real challenge facing the Balkans today was ethnic integration, but that reconciliation couldn't happen overnight.  

"What we are talking about now is real integration, not just the elimination of carnage and brutality," Biden told journalists in Pristina on Thursday, May 21. "But this is where it really gets hard and it's going to take time."

A decade ago, the US-led NATO intervention against Serbia ousted its security forces from Kosovo to end a brutal campaign against ethnic Albanians. It also set the foundation for the deployment of NATO peacekeepers and a UN civilian mission to run the then Serbian province. Last year, Kosovo - strongly encouraged by Washington - unilaterally declared its independence.

As a result, Kosovo Albanians, a 90-percent majority in the Serbian breakaway region, regard Washington as their closest ally, while Belgrade maintains sore, wary relations with the US.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:55:17 PM EST
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