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Egyptians return to Kosovo after 15 years of displacement

PRISTINA, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Local and international officials handed over on Monday keys to new constructed houses for 12 Egyptian families that returned to Kosovo after 15 years of displacement.

Displaced families were living since 1999 in difficult conditions in Konik camp of Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. On Monday they restarted their lives in a joint locality in the vicinity of Klina municipality, central Kosovo.

"The construction of this neighborhood is another milestone in our joint efforts to close Konik and Suto Orizare camps and provide for return and reintegration of those who lived there for so long under very difficult living conditions," said Christof Stock, Head of Cooperation of EU Office in Kosovo.

"Coming back is not only about the roof above our heads, it is also about an understanding neighborhood, about the attitude of the local authorities and the returnees' welfare," said Stock.

The project is being implemented by EU Office in partnership with the department of community and returns, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Klina Municipality. To help those just returned families the institutions will provide return package to help them integrate into their new houses.

The process of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian returnees is a broad project that aims to bring back to Kosovo displaced families of these communities displaced in Montenegro and Macedonia. So far the total number of families resettled by this project reaches 38. Twenty-two other families are planned to return over this and next year.

Kosovo, a Serbian province, unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo as an independent country.

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