There will be no turning back the clock – that was the message to Kosovo on Thursday from the visiting US Vice President.
Joe Biden is in Pristina as part of a tour of the Balkans. He has already been to Sarajevo and Belgrade, where police reportedly kept people off the streets, keen to avoid anti-US demonstrations. Biden told Kosovo’s parliament: “Kosovo’s independence was and remains today in my view, and the view of my government, the only viable option for stability in the region. And your independence, as I’ve said in the countries I’ve visited, your independence is irreversible, absolutely irreversible”. Biden has also visited an historic Serbian Orthodox monastery; observers say the aim is to also highlight American support for the rights of Kosovo’s ethnic-Serb minority. More than 90 percent of the territory’s two million people are ethnic Albanians. They have warmly welcomed Biden, who became known for his strong support of independence despite fierce opposition from Belgrade. In the divided town of Mitrovica however, Kosovo Serbs held an anti-US protest at a momument that commemorates Serbs killed during NATO’s military campaign against Serb forces in 1999.