The Albanian American Civic League Escalates its Efforts with Congress to Push for Kosova’s Independence Now
Report from Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, AACL Balkan Affairs Adviser
The Albanian American Civic League began 2004 and its fifteenth anniversary fittingly by holding its first meeting inside the U.S. Capitol Building on the night of President George Bush’s State of the Union Address. On January 20, members of the executive committee of the board of directors, the cochair of the Civic League’s new chapter in Roanoke, Virginia, and guests worked, dined, and viewed the President’s speech on closed-circuit TV in the House International Relations Committee reception room, right next to the Congressional chambers. Significantly, the Civic League was the only group inside the Capitol, besides the members of the House and Senate, who had just concluded the first day of the 2004 Congressional session.
Earlier that day, Congressman Henry Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, and Congressman Tom Lantos, the Committee’s Ranking Democrat, sent a revised “Dear Colleague” and the text of House Resolution 28 to all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, asking them to add their names to this bill, which calls on the United States to declare its support for the independence of Kosova. At the Civic League’s urging, they also included the text of a recent op-ed article by Morton Abramowitz, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, which appeared in The Washington Post on January 7. Written in the wake of the Serbian elections, in which the forces of nationalism triumphed, Abramowitz criticizes the West for failing to reform Serbia, for establishing a pseudo and unworkable union between Serbia and Montenegro, and for preventing the people of Kosova from having a real government by putting off consideration of Kosova’s final status. Bob King, the Democratic staff director for the International Relations Committee, and Kay King, Congressman Lantos’s senior foreign policy adviser, presented the Board with official copies of the Congressional mailing.