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Albania: Albright Meets With Kosovo Leader

Washington, 18 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met Kosovo leader Ibrahim Rugova at the State Department Friday to discuss the situation of ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province.

Spokesman James Rubin said Albright would reaffirm U.S. support for the non-violent policies of Rugova and his party -- the Democratic League of Kosovo.

Rubin said their restraint in the face of serious provocations commands the deepest U.S. respect.

He said the U.S. is aware that ethnic Albanians in Kosovo are still denied basic rights and suffer abuse from Serb authorities, especially the police and the courts.

But he said Albright would also make clear that the U.S. does not support independence for Kosovo. A unilateral change of borders would not strengthen the region's stability, he said.

Rubin said the U.S. is deeply concerned about acts of terrorism and political killings in Kosovo earlier this year and urges Rugovo's party to publicly condemn such incidents.

He also noted that the trials in Kosovo of suspected terrorists were far below western standards of justice.

Rubin said Belgrade should not use concern about terrorism as an excuse to further suppress the rights of the Kosovar Albanian community.