Albanian FM warns against creating cantons in Kosovo

ROME, Jul 4, 2000 -- (AFP) Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo warned Monday against separating Kosovo's ethnic communities by confining them to cantons, saying the Serbian province should be "multi-ethnic and democratic".

"The situation (in Kosovo) must return to normal as soon as possible," said Milo at a press conference here. "We must work to bring the different communities closer together."

Milo was in Rome to attend a meeting of a joint Italian-Albanian commission.

He welcomed a memorandum of understanding signed Thursday by Kosovo Serb leaders with the province's UN mission (UNMIK) to increase security for the Serbian minority after a recent upsurge in violence, but warned against creating cantons in Kosovo.

"The Albanian government wants to make a modest contribution to rebuild a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo," Milo said, adding that Tirana was opposed to "any extremist action wherever it may come from".

Meanwhile, Milo urged Italian business leaders to boost investment in his country, which does most of its trade with Italy.

Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini welcomed the economic and social progress made by Albania, a former Italian colony, since the last meeting of the joint commission two years ago.

But he said Rome and Tirana must cooperate more closely to stem organized crime across the Adriatic Sea which separates the two countries.

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