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Serbia wants explanation from Bulgaria on Ceku release

RIA Novosti


SARAJEVO, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - Serbian President Boris Tadic says he is waiting for an explanation from Bulgaria as to why former Kosovo prime minister Agim Ceku, detained on an Interpol wanted list, has been released, Belgrade media reported.

Ceku was arrested following an Interpol warrant initiated by Serbia as he crossed the border from Macedonia into Bulgaria on Wednesday. Ceku is wanted for the deaths of 669 Serbs and 18 other non-Albanians during the war in 1998-1999. Ceku has denied the charges, calling them politically motivated.

"Tadic announced today that the step made by the Bulgarian government will not aid in strengthening good neighborly relations with Bulgaria," according to press reports.

Though Ceku has been released following a court hearing, prosecutors have said he must remain in the country while Bulgaria considers evidence submitted by Serbia, which may take up to 40 days.

Ceku said he took Croatian citizenship, in addition to being a Kosovo passport holder, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991. Since UN Security Council Resolution 1244 was adopted in June 1999, the territory has been governed by an internationally recognized UN mission in Kosovo.

Ceku also said that Bulgaria has officially recognized Kosovo's independence and that he had entered the country with a Bulgarian visa in his Kosovo passport, adding that his extradition to Serbia would damage ethnic relations in Kosovo.

Bulgaria is one of 60 countries, including the United States and many European countries that recognize Kosovo's independence.

Gezim Kasapolli, a spokesman for Ceku's Social Democratic Party of Kosovo, said earlier that Ceku had been on a business trip to Sofia for talks with Bulgarian officials and expected Ceku's immediate release.

Ceku has been arrested and released twice, in Slovenia in 2003 and Hungary in 2004. On May 9, Ceku was deported from Colombia.

Ceku was Kosovo's prime minister in 2006-2007.

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