Kosovo to form truth commission as wounds from 1998-99 war fester | Reuters

By Fatos Bytyci | PRISTINA PRISTINA President Hashim Thaci announced on Monday plans for a Truth Commission to help reconcile Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian majority and Serb minority, as allegations of atrocities committed during the 1998-99 Kosovo war continue to scar relations.Thaci said it pained him that even youngsters born after the war saw their peers across the ethnic divide as 'enemies and as a danger'. 'Kosovo cannot build a good future if it remains a hostage to its past,' the president said at a ceremony to unveil plans for the truth and reconciliation commission.An estimated 10,800 Kosovo Albanians and some 2,200 Serbs were either killed or went missing during the 16-month conflict, which saw Serbian forces counter an Albanian insurgency waged by the Kosovo Liberation Army

Reuters February 13, 2017 23:15:08 IST
Kosovo to form truth commission as wounds from 1998-99 war fester
| Reuters

Kosovo to form truth commission as wounds from 199899 war fester
 Reuters

By Fatos Bytyci
| PRISTINA

PRISTINA President Hashim Thaci announced on Monday plans for a Truth Commission to help reconcile Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian majority and Serb minority, as allegations of atrocities committed during the 1998-99 Kosovo war continue to scar relations.Thaci said it pained him that even youngsters born after the war saw their peers across the ethnic divide as "enemies and as a danger". "Kosovo cannot build a good future if it remains a hostage to its past," the president said at a ceremony to unveil plans for the truth and reconciliation commission.An estimated 10,800 Kosovo Albanians and some 2,200 Serbs were either killed or went missing during the 16-month conflict, which saw Serbian forces counter an Albanian insurgency waged by the Kosovo Liberation Army.

An estimated 1 million Albanians were forced from their homes by the Serbian troops before NATO launched air strikes and forced Belgrade to withdraw its forces.World attention has long centred on the mass killings committed by the Serbian forces loyal to Slobodan Milosevic, while there has been less scrutiny of crimes committed by Kosovo's Albanian troops.Thaci, who led the guerilla insurgency against Serbian forces and was prime minister when Kosovo won its independence in 2008, on Monday said it was necessary to determine the facts surrounding the conflict. But he did not detail how the commission would work and who would be involved.

Many Serbs refuse to recognise Pristina as their capital and Belgrade still considers Kosovo part of its territory. Relations came under renewed strain in early January when French police arrested another former Kosovo prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, a rebel commander during the Kosovo war, on a Serbian warrant for war crimes he had allegedly committed.

Normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina is a key condition for both countries to progress towards European Union membership. Opponents of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia say prosecutors have disproportionately targeted Serbs. A new court at The Hague established under Kosovo's constitution will deal with alleged crimes committed by ethnic Albanians. (Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Ivana Sekularac and Richard Lough)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.