International donors, meeting in Brussels, Belgium, pledged more than one billion-two-hundred-million dollars in development assistance for Kosovo. Four-hundred million dollars of this aid will come from the United States.
U.S. funding will help relieve Kosovo’s debt. It will strengthen the capacity of Kosovo’s judicial system. It will enhance its business climate, improve education and increase access to potable water.
The U.S. is the largest bilateral aid donor to Kosovo, contributing over one-billion dollars since 1998. U.S. policy remains focused on building capacity within Kosovo’s nascent institutions and enhancing its ability to sustain development into the coming decade.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried told journalists in Washington, D.C. that Kosovo’s economy is “beginning to move ahead.” He noted also that it is urgent that the economy soon gets “up and running so you don’t have large numbers of unemployed people, young men with nothing to do.”
European Union Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said his organization is committed to helping Kosovo meet its needs. Assistant Secretary Fried said Kosovo stands out as “an example where the United States and Europe have worked together extraordinarily closely and under difficult conditions.”
Due to opposition by Russia, the United Nations Security Council never adopted a resolution on Kosovo’s final status, even though forty-three nations, including more than two-thirds of the European Union and a majority of the Security Council, now have recognized Kosovo since it declared independence in February after nine years as a U.N. protectorate.
“The European Union had to face the fact that it would have to act on Kosovo status and European countries had to face the fact that they had to act on Kosovo status without a U.N. resolution,” said Mr. Fried. “This was extraordinarily difficult and the European response was staunch and strong,” he said.
To assist Kosovo, said Assistant Secretary Fried, the U.S. will “keep working very closely with our European colleagues and allies in the months ahead.”