United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice is to promote the charge d’affaires in Pristina to be the first US ambassador to Kosovo, and has expressed optimism that the number of countries recognising Kosovo as independent will increase.
On July 18 2008, Rice met Kosovo president Fatmir Sejdiu and prime minister Hashim Thaci in Washington. The two are to meet US president George Bush on July 21.
The US has been a major backer of Kosovo’s independence, unilaterally declared in February 2008. In March, Bush authorised supplying Kosovo with weapons after Kosovo declared independence.
The Voice of America quoted Rice as saying that she expected growing international recognition of Kosovo and that opponents of independence for the former Serbian province would come to terms with that reality.
Rice said that more than 40 countries had recognised Kosovo, including most UN Security Council member countries and more than two-thirds of the members of the European Union and Nato.
Rice pledged continuing support for Kosovo by the United States, which pledged more than $400 million in new aid over two years at a donors’ conference in Brussels.
Thaci thanked Washington for its support, and said that Kosovo was “a country of peace and stability” that aspired to develop relations with all its neighbours — Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia.
Thaci said that progress had been made in the past six months with US help, and promised that Kosovo would “achieve many more successes in order to become a member of Nato and the EU.”
Agence France Presse reported that Rice had named Tina Kaidanow, described by the news agency as a “veteran Eastern Europe specialist” and currently charge d’affaires at the embassy in Pristina, as Washington’s first ambassador to Kosovo.