Rice sees "bright future" for Kosovo
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday Kosovo was making progress in building democratic and economic institutions and the tiny Balkan state's future looked "bright", dpa reported.
Rice met with Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci at the State Department in their first trip to Washington since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February.
"I think the future of Kosovo will be very bright," Rice said. "It has determined people, it has determined leadership, and it has determined friends."
The United States was among the first countries to recognize Kosovo despite strong opposition from Serbia and ally Russia. Rice said there are more than 40 countries which have since recognized Kosovo and that she expected the figure to grow.
"I know that there will be more," she said. "It is also the case that there are countries that have not formally recognized Kosovo, but have very good relations with Kosovo, particularly countries in the region, neighbouring countries."
Serbia opposed independence in part out of concerns the majority ethnic Albanian population would discriminate against minority ethnic Serbs. Rice said Kosovo's government must continue to ensure the rights of all groups are protected - a point recognized by Sejdiu.
"Well have as an objective to build a Kosovo which will be a Kosovo of values," Sejdiu said.
Meanwhile, Rice said Tina Kaidanow will be sworn in on Friday to became the first US ambassador to Kosovo.