Washington, D.C., July 21, 2008 – Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu, in advance of a meeting with President Bush today, praised the United States for supporting his country and said he expects the new nation will soon gain membership in international financial institutions.
Sejdiu, in a live interview with the VOA Albanian Service on Saturday, also said Kosovo will "be very responsible for every penny in the budget" given to the country at a donors' conference earlier this month. Referring to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, he said, "We expect to get membership in the international financial institutions."
The United States, which has given Kosovo more than $1 billion in bilateral aid since 1998, pledged more than $400 million dollars in new aid over the next three years at the donors' conference.
On Friday Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who promised continued support for Kosovo.
Thaçi, in a separate interview with VOA on Sunday, said the Kosovo officials planned to tell Bush today, "Kosovo will remain dedicated in the war against global terrorism, against fundamentalism, against organized crime and corruption." He said Kosovo maintains a "clear pro-western vision, as well as excellent relations with the United States."
Kosovo, a U.N.-administered territory since 1999, declared independence in February 2008. It has been recognized by 43 countries, including the United States, France and the United Kingdom. Russia, China, India and Serbia are among the countries that have not recognized Kosovo.
VOA Albanian Service broadcasts to the Balkans, including Kosovo, via television, radio and Internet. More than 90 percent of the people of Kosovo are ethnic Albanians. VOA Albanian's popular TV news program Ditari is broadcast 30 minutes each day. VOA also transmits 10.5 hours a week of news in Albanian via radio. For more information on this broadcast and VOA Albanian programing, visit our web site at www.VOANews.com/Albanian.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,250 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
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