kosovoKosovo’s Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci urged the European Union and NATO to speed up integration of Balkan states or risk the spreading influence of both Russia and Islamist extremists.

Thaci, the first prime minister of independent Kosovo until last year, told Reuters he hoped for tangible results in the coming months, such as a new EU visa regime for Kosovo.

“It is the moment when Brussels should move from rhetoric and nice words about Kosovo to concrete measures,” Thaci said in Berlin on Tuesday, after meeting his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Kosovo, a poor, landlocked state of 1.7 million people, declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade and its former Soviet master Moscow refuse to recognize this and have blocked its membership of bodies such as the United Nations.

Thaci, who led armed ethnic Albanian units in the 1998-99 guerrilla war against Belgrade troops as Yugoslavia collapsed, said Pristina saw this continued isolation as an “injustice”.

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