Building a democracy is hard work, and Kosovo needs international backing in achieving this.
I recently returned from Kosovo where I met with the country’s leaders. We discussed the growth in Kosovo’s democracy and how Freedom House has upgraded its rating to “Parliamentary Democracy.” We reflected on the overwhelming support of the Kosovar people for the United States and their strong desire to join NATO and the European Union. And we agreed that, while difficult, Kosovo needs to create the Special Court so that the nation can put to rest allegations from the past.
What I saw was a country on the path toward stronger democracy, greater freedom, and growing economic potential. Kosovo has made great strides, and its leaders are working to heal old wounds, build peace with their neighbors, and keep moving forward.
This piece, based on anonymous sniping, unsupported rumors, and outright falsehoods, is a transparent attempt to vilify certain Kosovar leaders and derail the nation as it seeks to strengthen the rule of law. Many of the charges in this article, such as drug trafficking, have been debunked again and again, including by the CIA in a January 2000 public report. Justice will be done in the courts, not through smear campaigns.
Americans know from our own history that building a democracy is hard work. Kosovo is overcoming those challenges now, even as voices stuck in the past work to derail Kosovo’s progress. That’s why the United States and champions of freedom in Europe and elsewhere must continue to support Kosovo. While detractors like Chuck Sudetic repeat the same unsubstantiated claims, I prefer to work side-by-side with the people of Kosovo and its elected leaders toward a brighter future.
Eliot L. Engel Ranking Member, Committee on Foreign Affairs U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.