Former US president Bill Clinton was in the Kosovar capital of Pristina on Sunday to attend the unveiling of a 3-metre statue hailing his role in ending a bitter breakaway war with Serbia a decade ago.
AFP - Former US president Bill Clinton vowed Sunday that Barack Obama would stand by Kosovo as he attended the unveiling of a huge statue in his honour.
The three-metre (10-foot) tall statue, which depicts Clinton waving his left hand, was erected in a boulevard already named after him in Pristina, where he is viewed as a hero for his role in the war against Serb forces.
"I am profoundly grateful that I had a chance to be a part of ending horrible things that were happening here 10 years ago and giving you a chance to build a better future for yourselves," he said at the ceremony.
"Every time you see this statue I want you to remember that all I want for you is a good future and I will do everything I can to support it for the rest of my life," he said.
Kosovo's Albanian majority sees Bill Clinton as the architect of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign that ended a brutal crackdown against separatists by the forces of then Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
Following the 11-week bombing campaign, Serb forces were kicked out of Kosovo and the province was placed under UN administration.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008 and it has been recognised by 62 countries including the United States and most European Union members. Serbia, backed by Russia, opposes Kosovo's independence.
"I want to assure you that President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the entire American people are with you today and will be with you in the future as you go to a better tomorrow," Clinton said.
The former US president, who was given a hero's welcome during his one-day visit, praising Kosovo's achievements during an address to its parliament.
"You have not only done better than your critics thought you would, you have actually done better than your friends thought you would," he told the parliament.
Kosovan President Fatmir Sejdiu praised the former US leader.
"In the most difficult time for Kosovo and its people who were endangered by total physical extermination, you took the lead of democratic and freedom countries which stopped Milosevic's military, paramilitary and police machinery," Sejdiu said.
Date created : 2009-11-01