23:48 GMT +325 June 2019
Listen Live
    Former U.S. President Bill Clinton applauds during the inauguration of the monument of Madeleine Albright at the 20th anniversary of the Deployment of NATO Troops in Kosovo in Pristina, Kosovo June 12, 2019

    Serbs Mercilessly Mock Madeleine 'Worth It' Albright's New Kosovo Statute

    © REUTERS / FLORION GOGA
    Europe
    Get short URL
    111138

    This week marked the 20th anniversary of the deployment of NATO troops into the Serbian province of Kosovo following a 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia which left over 5,000 civilians dead and facilitated the breakaway region's eventual declaration of independence from Belgrade.

    Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former President Bill Clinton joined Kosovo officials in Pristina on Wednesday to mark the 20th anniversary of NATO's deployment in the province in June 1999.

    The celebrations included the unveiling of a statue of Albright in the centre of the province's capital, with the 82-year-old former secretary of state expressing her gratitude to the people of Kosovo for the honour. "I am happy to have a statue here because this country means so much to me," she said.

    Clinton, who already has a statute and a boulevard named after him in Pristina, said that it would always remain one of the "greatest honours" of his life "to have stood with you against ethnic cleansing and for freedom" during the 1999 campaign.

    President Thaci, whose Kosovo Liberation Army has been accused of war crimes against ethnic Serbs during the conflict, gave Albright and Clinton freedom medals and thanked them "for the liberty" they "brought to us and the peace to entire region."

    Online however, many users weren't impressed by the commemorations, nor by Albright's new bust. Many immediately recalled her long record of controversial and insensitive remarks, including her claim that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children from US sanctions was "worth it."

    Tweet reads: "The statutes of Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright in Pristina await the same fate as the statues of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Whether it happens 10, 30 or 50 years from now is unimportant."

    Others took a more lighthearted tone, making fun of the statue and saying it looked more like former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, composer Ludwig van Beethoven or even former Communist-era Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito than Albright.

    A few also likened the bust to the hilariously bad Ronaldo likeness which once graced an airport in Portugal.

    Tweet reads: "Ronaldo > Albright"

    Between 24 March and 10 June 1999, NATO warplanes carried out a series of airstrikes against Yugoslavia after accusing Belgrade of committing war crimes in the region of Kosovo. The strikes left as many as 5,700 civilians dead, and contaminated part of the country with depleted uranium, causing a notable spike in juvenile cancer rates. NATO troops entered Kosovo on June 11, 1999 for 'peacekeeping', and have remained in the province ever since. NATO troops are stationed at Camp Bondsteel, the second-largest US military base in Europe.

    Tensions between Belgrade and the Kosovo's NATO-backed authorities continue to this day. Late last month, the Serbian military was put on 'combat alert' after Kosovar security forces in armoured vehicles entered Serb-populated regions in the province's north and made a series of arrests. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic vowed to protect Serbs in Kosovo if tensions continue to escalate.

    Related:

    US Wants Kosovo Army to Be in Control of the Disputed Territory - Analyst
    Serbian President Wishes Russian Citizen Injured in Kosovo Raids Speedy Recovery
    Kosovo's FM Calls for UN Probe Against Russian UN Staffer Injured in Country
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik