US, UK, France Press Bulgaria for Ceku Release - Report

Diplomacy | June 25, 2009, Thursday // 10:21|  views

Agim Ceku (left) pictured here with Bulgaria's PM Stanishev at the time he was Kosovo's PM. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria is under huge pressure from official representatives of the United States, Britain and France, who demand the immediate release of former Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku, Belgrade-based Danas newspaper claims.

The article also cites a spokesman for the Kosovo government, who describes Ceku arrest as a disappointing incident. According to him Serbia has long ago lost its right to be in control of the movement of Kosovo nationals and adds that the arrest is utterly unacceptable.

He calls on international organizations to help stop the politically motivated arrests on warrants, issued at the time of dictator Milosevic government, whose deadline has long since expired.

Agim Ceku was arrested in Bulgaria on an international warrant issued by Serbia for alleged war crimes.

The Bulgarian interior ministry said Ceku was detained as he crossed the border from Macedonia and a court would consider his case in the next few days.

Serbia accuses Ceku of committing war crimes in 1998-99.

At the time he was commander of the ethnic-Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which was fighting Serbia.

He has dismissed the charges as politically motivated, and says the arrest warrant has no legal basis.

He was arrested at the Qustendil border crossing between Bulgaria and Macedonia on Tuesday evening.

Last month Ceku was expelled from Colombia, after Serbia urged his arrest, but later he transited France en route to the Balkans.

He had previously been detained in 2006 in Slovenia and Hungary.

Kosovo declared independence in February 2008. Ethnic Albanians form the overwhelming majority of the population.

The US and more than 50 other countries have recognised its independence, but more than 100 have not, including Serbia and Russia.


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