World News

Ex-Kosovo leader leaves Colombia after expulsion

Former Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku attends a Friends of Europe think-tank in Brussels December 4, 2007. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Former Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku said on Thursday he had left Colombia following an expulsion order from the local security agency as he is wanted in Serbia on war crimes charges.

“The Colombian authorities received a request from Serbia asking to arrest me and extradite me to Serbia,” Ceku told Reuters by telephone from France.

“This is an illegitimate arrest warrant. I am really surprised that anyone would follow this request and Interpol still is dealing with this when they know that Serbia has no authority over Kosovar citizens.”

Serbian authorities had asked their Colombian counterparts to arrest Ceku, but the DAS Columbian state security agency said its agents were restricted by local law from carrying out the detention order.

Ceku arrived in Colombia on May 3 to participate in an international seminar on demobilization and disarmament, the DAS said.

“I received a written order to get out of the country,” Ceku said. “I will not be able to go to Colombia for the next 10 years.”

Serbia indicted Ceku, a former top commander of Kosovo Albanian guerrillas during the 1998-1999 war, for war crimes against Serbs and other non-Albanians.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia more than a year ago but Belgrade continues to say the region is part of its territory.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci in Pristina and Patrick Markey in Bogota; Writing by Adam Tanner; Editing by Jon Hemming