Washington, 8 November 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A senior U.S. diplomat says Kosovo can envisage independence only if the majority Albanians in the province show they can govern fairly and efficiently.
Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns today told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that it is not his place to recommend whether Kosovo should be independent or remain a province of Serbia.
But he said that if Kosovo's Albanians want to achieve independence eventually, they must first and foremost demonstrate good governance.
"For the Kosovo Albanians, they have to prove to us -- the international community -- that they can govern democratically, that they can govern effectively, and that they can design a future Kosovo that will protect the rights of the minority population," Burns told the committee.
Serbia is strongly opposed to Kosovo gaining independence.
Burns also said other former Yugoslav states can't hope to be integrated into the European Union or become members of NATO unless they find and surrender Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, both Bosnian Serbs, and Ante Gotovina, a Croat, for war crimes trials.