Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hashim Thaçi

Hashim Thaçi (born 24 April 1968) is the Prime Minister of Republic of Kosovo, the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK), and former political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Early Life and Education
Hashim Thaçi was born in Srbica, in the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, in what was then Yugoslavia. He studied philosophy and history at the University of Pristina. During his university years, he was an Albanian student leader and the first student president of the parallel Albanian University of Pristina that broke off in 1989 (and organized in the early 1990s) from the official University due to Kosovo Albanians' protest of Slobodan Milošević's new imposed status of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.

By 1993, Hashim Thaçi joined the Albanian political émigré group in Switzerland, where he also pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Zurich in the departments of history and international relations. There he became one of the founders of the People's Movement of Kosovo (LPK).

Role in KLA
In 1993, Thaçi became a member of the inner circle of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Thaçi (nom de guerre "Gjarpëri" [The Snake]) was responsible for securing financial means and armaments, and training recruits in Albania to be dispatched to Kosovo.[citation needed] In 1997, Thaçi was tried in absentia and convicted by the Serbian authorities in Pristina for acts of terrorism associated with his activities in the KLA. In March 1999, Thaçi participated in the Rambouillet negotiations as the leader of the Kosovar Albanian team. Thaçi was perceived by western diplomats during the negotiations as the "voice of reason" within the KLA: his attendance at the negotiations demonstrated a willingness to accept autonomy for Kosovo within Serbia at a time when other rebel leaders rejected any solution short of full national independence. Thaçi emerged from the final diplomatic settlement as the leader of the strongest faction within a KLA rife with factionalism. He moved quickly to consolidate power, unilaterally naming himself prime minister within a provisional government and allegedly ordering the assassination of the leaders of rival armed factions.

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