Prince Charles pays tribute to Kosovo war missingArchive
PRISTINA: Britain’s Prince Charles on Saturday paid tribute to those missing since the 1998-1999 Kosovo war and to Nato-led peacekeepers killed there, on the last leg of a week-long Balkans tour.
Accompanied by his wife Camilla, Charles laid a wreath at the monument to missing persons and joined a memorial ceremony also attended by Kosovo’s outgoing president Atifete Jahjaga.
Honouring themes of peace and reconciliation, Charles and Camilla began their tour in Croatia and visited Serbia and Montenegro, before the final stop in Kosovo. The 1990s Balkan wars claimed more than 130,000 lives and displaced millions of people.
More than 13,000 people were killed in Kosovo, where pro-independence ethnic Albanian guerrillas fought the Serbian forces of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
Serbian troops were eventually forced to leave the former province by a three-month Nato-led air campaign aimed at stopping Milosevic regime’s brutal crackdown against ethnic Albanian civilians.
At a brief emotional meeting with a group of relatives who welcomed the British royal couple carrying pictures of their missing loved ones, Charles was asked to help increase international pressure on Serbia to reveal what it might know about the fate of the missing.
Almost 17 years after the war in Kosovo some 1,600 people, mostly ethnic Albanians, have still been unaccounted for. Charles also visited the headquarters of the Nato-led peacekeeping force, where he took part in a ceremony at the monument for more than 100 international soldiers killed on the mission in Kosovo.
Camilla and Jahjaga also met with some of estimated 20,000 survivors of sexual violence.
Almost a decade after the war Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia, which opposed the move and still considers the territory as its southern province.
Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2016