Officials concerned over proposed Kosovo envoy

Switzerland has expressed reservations over Kosovo's proposed ambassador to Bern, a foreign ministry spokesman confirmed on Thursday.

This content was published on September 25, 2008 - 19:55

The Kosovo government had suggested the ambassadorship of Naim Mala on August 29 but had been told by Swiss officials Mala was not their "preferred candidate", authorities in Priština said.

On late Thursday afternoon the Swiss foreign ministry said there were concerns over Mala's dual Swiss-Kosovo nationality.

"We have stated that the dual nationality of Naim Mala could lead to difficulties with diplomatic immunity," Jean-Phillipe Jutzi said. But he added that Switzerland was still open to the accreditation of Mala, if this was what Kosovo wanted.

Mala spent four years in prison in the former Yugoslavia in the 1980s. During the 1990s, he politically supported the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has been accused of war crimes by human rights organisations.

On Wednesday, he told swissinfo that he was never an active member of the force.

Mala arrived in Switzerland in 1990 as a refugee, gained citizenship in 2004 and lives in the city of Geneva.

In February, Switzerland was one of the first countries to recognise the independence of Kosovo and in March, Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey inaugurated the Swiss embassy in Priština.

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