Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci walk during the 20th anniversary of the Deployment of NATO Troops in Kosovo in Pristina, Kosovo June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci walk during the 20th anniversary of the Deployment of NATO Troops in Kosovo in Pristina, Kosovo June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga

Thousands of Kosovo Albanians turned out on Wednesday to welcome back former U.S. president Bill Clinton and his ex-top diplomat Madeleine Albright 20 years after they helped engineer the NATO air war that ousted Serbian forces.

Clinton, 72, and Albright, 82, were greeted like rock stars in the Kosovo capital Pristina where a statue of Albright was unveiled in the city center for the occasion, joining one of Clinton erected earlier on a boulevard named after him.

Majority-Albanian Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after NATO air strikes ended Belgrade’s repressive grip on the territory following a brutal counter-insurgency campaign by Serbian security forces.

“I love this country and it will always be one of the greatest honors of my life to have stood with you against ethnic cleansing (by Serbian forces) and for freedom,” Clinton told thousands gathered in sweltering heat in downtown Pristina.

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https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kosovo-war-anniversary/kosovo-albanians-welcome-clinton-albright-20-years-after-nato-intervention-idUSKCN1TD1ZU