For Immediate Release
Contact: The Civic League office at (914) 762-5530
THE ALBANIAN AMERICAN CIVIC LEAGUE OPPOSES THE WEST’S RESTORATION OF DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH SERBIA
Former Congressman Joe DioGuardi, president of the Albanian American Civic League, and Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, who is the U.S. Spokesperson for the Alliance for the Future of Kosova, will go to Melbourne on November 25 to join with the Albanian Australian community to protest the restoration of diplomatic relations with “Yugoslavia” by the United States, Germany, France, and Great Britain.
While reconciliation with Serbia is urgent and emergency food aid should be provided, the Albanian American Civic League believes that there can be no peace without justice. For Albanians, justice means the release of all Kosovar Albanian political prisoners in Serbian jails, the apprehension and extradition of indicted Serbian war criminals to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, the cessation of repression and violence against the Albanians of Presheve, Medvegje, and Bujanovc, and the beginning of a “de-Nazification” campaign in Serbia to end a century of anti-Albanian and anti-Muslim racism that culminated in genocide in Bosnia and Kosova.
According to Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, “the resumption of the West’s diplomatic ties with Serbia, together with Serbia’s readmission earlier this month to the United Nations and the OSCE–without any preconditions–is a
shocking reminder of what happened at the beginning of the twentieth century when England, France, Germany, and the United States supported Serbia’s annexation of Kosova at the end of the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. If the West attempts in 2001 to force Kosovar Albanians back under the yoke of Serbian rule, it will repeat the mistake that the ‘Great Powers’ made at the beginning of the twentieth century and lay the groundwork for a fifth Balkan war.”
The Albanian American Civic League maintains that there will be no peace in the Balkans until the international community recognizes Kosova as an independent state. “It is clear to me that all of the Albanians who participated in the October elections in Kosova saw themselves as voting not just for municipal office holders, but for their independence,” said Joe DioGuardi, who led a fact-finding mission to Kosova during the elections at the request of Congressman Ben Gilman. “The creation of a genuinely democratic, economically viable state in which respect for the rule of law and the human rights of all citizens prevails is Kosova’s goal as an independent state,” he added, “and it should be Serbia’s goal as well.”
The DioGuardis will travel to Canberra with an Albanian delegation from Melbourne and Sydney to press members of the Australian parliament to support the independence of Kosova under international law. They will repeat this effort in New Zealand, where they will join the Albanian community in Auckland and then travel with a delegation to Wellington to meet with government officials there.
Ossining, New York, November 21, 2000
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