| Bush at a news conference in Tirana. (AP)
Tirana, Albania, June 10 (AP): President George W. Bush, receiving a hero’s welcome as the first American President to visit Albania, said today that there cannot be endless dialogue about achieving independence for neighbouring Kosovo.
“At some point in time — sooner rather than later — you’ve got to say ‘Enough is enough. Kosovo is independent’ and that’s the position we’ve taken,” Bush said during a news conference with the Prime Minister of this impoverished Balkan country.
Bush’s press for statehood was aimed at Russia and others that object to Kosovo’s independence. Standing alongside Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Bush said any extension of talks on Kosovo must have “certain independence” as the goal.
In response to Albania’s push for Nato membership, Bush said additional political and military reforms were needed before that could be considered — something the country’s leaders said they understood.
“We are determined to take any decision, adopt any law, undertake any reform that would make Albania suitable to receive the invitation” to join the western military alliance, Berisha said.
The issue of independence for the Serbian province of Kosovo is one of the issues on which the US and Russia disagree.
Russia, an ally of Serbia, contends independence for Kosovo would set a dangerous precedent for the world’s other breakaway regions.
Serbia also opposes statehood for Kosovo, which it sees as the heart of its historic homeland.
Kosovo has been administered by the UN since a 1999 war between Serb forces and ethnic Albanian rebels.