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European Union Pledges $789 Million at Kosovo Donors' Conference

By VOA News
11 July 2008

The European Union has pledged $789 million at a donors conference to help newly independent Kosovo.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn says the bloc is committed to meeting the needs of Kosovo, which he called a "profoundly European" matter.

A top U.S. aid official, Henrietta Fore, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, has said the United States will donate $400 million at the conference.

The European Union hopes to raise a total of more than $1.6 billion from donor nations to help deal with Kosovo's economic problems and unemployment of about 40 percent.

American and European officials hope improving Kosovo's infrastructure will help attract international investment.

Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian leaders declared independence from Serbia in February. More than 40 countries have recognized the action, but Serbia insists on maintaining sovereignty over Kosovo.

Serbia and its traditional ally, Russia, have blocked Kosovo's access to assistance from organizations such as the United Nations.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.


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