U.S. President Joe Biden has said that Kosovo holds a “special place” for his family because of the time his late son Beau spent in the Balkan country, where he helped to strengthen the rule of law.
Biden made the remark in a letter sent to acting President Vjosa Osmani on the occasion of Kosovo’s independence day
congratulating her and the people of Kosovo on 13th anniversary of country’s independence.
Osmani made the contents of the letter public on February 16.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008, a decade after a 1998-99 war between ethnic Albanian rebels and Serbian forces. The war ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign drove Serbian troops out and an international peacekeeping force moved in.
Biden said Kosovo continues to hold a special place in his family in honor of the time his late son Beau Biden spent working in Kosovo after the 1998-99 war with the military forces and also with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe strengthening the rule of law there.
Biden visited Kosovo in 2016 on his last trip to the region as vice president to attend with his family a ceremony naming a road near a U.S. military base after his son, who died a year earlier of brain cancer at age 46.
Biden wrote to Osmani on expectations the US has that the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia to be concluded with mutual recognition. Biden sent a letter also to Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic last week congratulating on Serbia’s Statehood Day and urging him to recognize Kosovo.
Biden in his letter said the US looks forward to working with Kosovo’s next government to move forward on its European path.
“There is a great deal of work to be done, including securing a comprehensive normalization agreement with Serbia centered on mutual recognition that strengthens the rule of law, confronting global COVID-19 pandemic, and fostering economic growth that enables a prosperous future for all of Kosovo’s citizens,” Biden wrote in his letter carried by international and local media on Wednesday.
“The United States remains a dedicated partner and friend to Kosovo in these endeavors,” Biden said.
Kosovo has been recognized by 117 countries since declaring its independence 13 years ago with Albania being among the first.
Ceremonies and other festivities are expected in Pristina and other parts of the country to mark the historic day under strict measures of safety against the pandemic.