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Kosovar Prime Minister Kosumi (file photo) (epa)
3 February 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kosovar Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi today called on the United States not to go ahead with a planned reduction in security forces in Kosovo.
Kosumi was responding to comments from U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who said he wants to see the number of U.S. troops in Kosovo reduced. Rumsfeld suggested that other NATO countries should assume greater responsibility for security in the breakaway Serbian province.
U.S. officials say that Rumsfeld is expected to officially make that call at an international security conference in Munich on 4 February.
About 1,700 U.S. troops serve in the 16,000-strong NATO-led mission in Kosovo.
U.S. officials attending the Munich conference say Rumsfeld will also urge NATO to assume a bigger role alongside the United States in the struggle against international terrorism.
Rugova at RFE/RL's Prague headquarters in 1998
IBRAHIM RUGOVA visited RFE/RL headquarters in Prague on December 18, 1998, in order to highlight the oppression of Albanian-language media in Kosovo by the government of then Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
The Serbian Information Ministry on December 18, 1998 threatened two newspapers in Kosovo with prosecution for allegedly "stirring up terrorism and calling for the violent overthrow of the constitutional order." Serbia passed an information law two months earlier, setting fines for articles perceived to threaten the constitutional order.
Rugova said Serbian authorities have subjected Albanian-language media in the province to years of repression, shutting down some 90 periodicals, barring Albanian-language television programs and banning or jailing local journalists. He said there were two Albanian-language dailies left - "Bujku" and "Koha Ditore" - which continue to function. Rugova also said Serbian forces could, in his words "exterminate Kosovars next spring in a couple of days if they wanted to." He said this is why it is his goal to achieve a negotiated interim political settlement with the help of the international community.
For a complete archive of RFE/RL's coverage of events in Kosovo, click here.