Kosovo celebrates 20 years of NATO-brought freedom

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the deployment of NATO troops in an operation that helped stop a Serb military crackdown on ethnic Albanians that left more than 10,000 dead.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and ex-NATO commander Wesley Clark are joined by other world leaders at Skenderbeu Square downtown the capital, Pristina on Wednesday.

Kosovo’s 1998-99 war ended with a 78-day NATO air campaign. It declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade does not recognize it and relations remain tense.

A European Union-facilitated dialogue between the two sides since 2011 has stalled.

Kosovo’s independence is recognized by 115 countries.

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