Kosovo president withdraws from White House trip after war crimes indictment

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Kosovo’s president has pulled out of a White House meeting with Serbian officials set for Saturday following his indictment on crimes against humanity and war crimes charges.

US presidential envoy Richard Grenell, who invited Kosovar and Serbian officials to meet in Washington to jump start their stalled peace talks, tweeted that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci decided to postpone his trip to Washington.

Mr Grenell wrote on Wednesday: “I respect his decision not to attend the discussions until the legal issues of those allegations are settled.”

Kosovo’s president and nine other former separatist fighters were indicted on a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges, including murder, by a court investigating crimes against ethnic Serbs during and after Kosovo’s 1998-99 independence war with Serbia.

A statement from a prosecutor of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers issued on Wednesday said President Hashim Thaci and the others suspects “are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders”, involving hundreds of known Kosovar Albanian, Serb and Roma victims, as well as political opponents.

Other charges include enforced disappearance, persecution, and torture.

The 1998-1999 war left more than 10,000 dead and 1,641 are still unaccounted for.

It ended after a 78-day Nato air campaign.

Serbia does not recognise Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence.

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