Kosovo commemorates 20th anniversary since end of war

epaselect epa07643264 Former US president Bill Clinton holds a speech during the ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of ending the war in Pristina, Kosovo, 12 June 2019. Thousands of Kosovan Albanians gathered on the main square in Pristina to mark the day of 12 June, 20th anniversary when NATO troops entered Kosovo and the war was over. NATO troops enter Kosovo on 12 June 1999, following 78 days air-strikes against Serb security forces to halt widespread ethnic cleansing and killings of Kosovo Albanian civilians. EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

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Crowds of people gathered in central Pristina on Wednesday to celebrate the anniversary of the end of the war 20 years ago and applaud former US President Bill Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who were key advocates of NATO’s military intervention.

“It is my biggest honour to have stood with you against the ethnic cleansing and for freedom,” Clinton told the crowd in Mother Teresa Square, some of whom waved American flags.

“Never forget, when you think of the challenges ahead of you, and I say that to your existing leaders, you have already done something amazing. You have given a whole generation the first 20 years of their life in peace,” Clinton also said in his speech.

The former commander of NATO troops in Europe, Wesley Clark, who led the Western military alliance’s 78 days of air strikes against Yugoslavia, which forced President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his forces from Kosovo, also attended the celebration.

NATO’s troops entered Kosovo on June 12, 1999 after its campaign of air strikes ended.

“June 12 is the date that unites us all, it’s the founding of our identity as citizens, as a nation, as Kosovo. This work [the NATO intervention], we will never forget and will always respect,” said Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci.

Via Balkan Insight

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