Kosovo and NATO topped the agenda in George Bush’s visit to Albania – the first by a US President. The former communist state is now one of Washington’s closest allies in the region and both sides are keen to further strengthen relations. The White House strongly backs Albania’s bid to join NATO and its desire to see Kosovo independent from Serbia.
The United Nations’ Kosovo envoy has put forward a plan to make the province independent under European Union supervision. But Serbia regards the province as an inviolable part of its territory and fears for its minority there. Belgrade has a powerful ally in Russian President Vladimir Putin who, again over the weekend, stressed his opposition to independence.
He told Serbia’s prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, that his G8 colleagues were taking his arguments seriously. The Kosovo question is just one of a number of divisive issues between Washington and Moscow that have been highlighted during Bush’s European journey.