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[Des Moines Register] Kosovo is striving for peace with neighbors

Letter to the Editor by Ambassador of Kosovo to the United States, Avni Spahiu. The Des Moines Register, April 14, 2011.

Ambassador Vladimir Petrovic of Serbia levied a variety of allegations against my country, the Republic of Kosovo (April 7 Opinion). It is in neither Kosovo's nor Serbia's interests to see the other's relations with the United States undermined, and most certainly not on the basis of the unproven allegations repeated in Petrovic's letter.


I am proud and humbled to say that there is no country in Europe where approval of United States leadership is higher. According to a recent Gallup poll, favorable opinion of the United States in Kosovo is at 88 percent (compared to 14 percent in Serbia).

I can say without hesitation that my people are eternally gratefully to the citizens of the United States for halting the ethnic cleansing which the Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic was perpetrating on my country through 1999. We will never forget how the air forces of the United States and other NATO democracies stepped in to end this horror.

Today, Kosovo is honored to host a company of Iowa National Guard service personnel from a unit headquartered in Boone, Iowa. It remains the hope of the government of Kosovo that one day our two sovereign countries, Kosovo and Serbia, in spite of their unfortunate past, will live side-by-side as peaceful, cooperative neighbors and full members of the North Atlantic community of nations.

By this letter I only hope to reassure the people of Iowa that Kosovo is committed to our relationship with your state. Our partnership should not and will not become a forum for debate on the political differences in our region.

Avni Spahiu, Ambassador, Republic of Kosovo, Washington, D.C.