"Quint must have known", says ex-UN official

BELGRADE -- The so-called Quint countries "must have known about the allegations made in the recent report by Council of Europe (CoE) Rapporteur Dick Marty".

The five countries - U.S., Britain, Germany, France and Italy - had access to information, resources and a long history of work with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), former U.S. diplomat and UN Regional Representative in northern Kosovo Gerard Gallucci told Belgrade's Politika newspaper in an interview.

The Marty report named now Kosovo Albanian PM Hashim Thaci and other former members of the KLA of kidnapping Serb and other civilians and selling their organs in the black market.

"Regardless of the claims about organ trafficking, everyone knows about the involvement of some of the top Kosovo leaders in transnational crime and corruption. International officials ignored these problems so as not to provoke the ethnic Albanians and prevent them from creating even bigger problems," Gallucci stated, according to the newspaper.

"It is also common knowledge that, with their desire to create a greater Albania, the Kosovo Albanians have often been a threat to regional stability," Gallucci said.

As far as political influence is concerned, many have rightfully noticed that Marty's report sheds a very bad light on Kosovo and its leadership, he added.

"I do not expect any improvement in the suspended process of Kosovo's recognition, and I believe that Belgrade's political position in any kind of dialogue with Priština will be strengthened," Gallucci assessed.

According to him, the Quint countries, particularly the U.S., put all their trust in Hashim Thaci and they do not have any acceptable alternative for him.

"For some reason, perhaps because he is harder to control, they did nothing to help Ramush Haradinaj (former prime minister and another KLA leader), who is an authentic leader of Kosovo Albanians, smarter and more pragmatic than most others. But some believe that the Americans are behind the efforts to keep him out of Kosovo," Gallucci was quoted as saying.

The former UN administrator in Kosovo explained that it was for this reason that he believed that Thaci would 'survive' as prime minister, "which will prevent disorder".

"But what Marty's allegations can do is make the western Europeans finally confront the American hardline towards the Serbs. It is possible that they, excluding the British, will be more ready for a compromise with Belgrade, which implies the possibility of granting a special status to northern Kosovo," Gallucci said.