Monday, October 29, 2007

Albania Lobbies Islamic Conference over Kosovo

29 10 2007 Tirana _ Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha has called on Egypt to persuade the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, OIC, member-states to recognize en bloc a possible declaration of independence by Kosovo.

While presenting Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit with an overview of the situation in UN-administered Kosovo, Berisha asked his host to use Egypt’s considerable influence with the other Arab states.

“After December 10, Kosovo must declare independence in coordination with the USA and the EU. It can’t be a part of Serbia because historically it has not been a part of Serbia,” Berisha said during the meeting in Cairo on Sunday, media reported.

Although administered by the UN since the war of 1999, Kosovo formally belongs to Serbia which does not want to concede the Kosovo Albanians’ demand for independence.

Gheit promised the Albanian prime minister that his country would make a substantial effort to make Kosovo a priority issue at the next OIC Islamic Summit Conference, due in Senegal in March 2008.

Kosovo Albanian leaders have slammed the latest round of talks in Vienna on their homeland’s status as unproductive.

The current phase of talks since August has been overseen by a “Troika” of international mediators.

Several Kosovar leaders have declared that if the ongoing negotiations fail to produce agreement, Kosovo should press ahead with a unilateral declaration of independence.

Albania announced it was joining the OIC in 1992, a few months after the collapse of its hardline communist regime.

It is the only country in Europe where the majority of the population have a Muslim cultural background.

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