The Mayor of Oldham Cllr. Fida Hussain (left) meets the Mayor of the Municipality of Ferijaz, Republic of Kosovo, Muharrem Svarqa. In the background are left to right, Faik Graica, John Battye (the Oldham Mayor in 1999 who greeted the first group of Kosovan refugees), Burim Karameta, Ailsa Plain (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Osman Caka (one the first refugees).

The Mayor of Oldham Cllr. Fida Hussain (left) meets the Mayor of the Municipality of Ferijaz, Republic of Kosovo, Muharrem Svarqa. In the background are left to right, Faik Graica, John Battye (the Oldham Mayor in 1999 who greeted the first group of Kosovan refugees), Burim Karameta, Ailsa Plain (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Osman Caka (one the first refugees).


Four days ago, a delegation from Kosovo met with the Oldham’s Mayor, Councillor Fida Hussain, to celebrate Oldham’s links with the country.

Kosovo has strong ties with Oldham due to the assistance given when many Kosovan refugees arrived in 1999.

Osman Caka and his family, along with around 200 others, were airlifted from refugee camps and brought to makeshift facilities at Chadderton Town Hall during April and May of that year.

Osman’s youngest son was murdered during the war and he has never forgotten the kindness shown to him and his family when he arrived in the borough.

Mr Caka said: “Since I moved here I have no words to describe the hospitality of people in Oldham and I want to thank everyone in the town for what they have done.

“I hope this visit can help us build bridges in difficult times for Kosovo and help build a stronger relationship between us.”

Kosovans contributed to a commemorative plaque at Chadderton Town Hall as a thank-you.

The Mayor of Ferizaj, Kosovo, Muharem Svarqa, said: “I am very happy to be able to visit Oldham, the town hall and the Mayor.

“I want to thank all the people of Oldham for what they have done to welcome us and all the Kosovan refugees who arrived in 1999.”

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Originally published at:
http://www.oldham-chronicle.co.uk/news-features/8/news-headlines/87056/kosovo-links-so-strong