WASHINGTON — The United States reacted cautiously Wednesday to a Council of Europe report linking Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci with an organ trafficking ring, and urged that any evidence in the case be put forward.
The Kosovo government swiftly rejected the report, which accused Thaci of heading a group within the ethnic-Albanian guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) that set up a network of unofficial prisons in Albania.
But the European Union said it was ready to investigate allegations that one of Thaci's allies operated a ring for the "forcible extraction of human organs for the purposes of trafficking" from the prisoners, mainly Serbs.
"It's a draft report (and) we're aware of it," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters in Washington.
"We take all credible allegations of criminal activity very seriously, and any evidence and sources cited in this report should be shared with competent authorities to conduct a full and proper investigation," he added.
"The rule of law is paramount to stability and progress in the Balkans."
Kosovo's interim president Jakup Krasniqi has dismissed as "absurd" the report authored by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty, a Swiss deputy.
A spokeswoman in Brussels for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the European Union takes "allegations on war crimes and organized crime extremely seriously," and that if Marty had any concrete evidence he should bring it to authorities.
Amnesty International has called on the EU "to open an immediate investigation" into the allegations in the aftermath of the 1998-99 Balkan wars which tore apart the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
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