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Crisis in Yugoslavia

Kosovo Sweethearts Say 'I Do' at Dix

May 24, 1999|Associated Press

FT. DIX, N.J. — High school sweethearts seeking refuge here from war-torn Kosovo were married Sunday, half a world away from their troubled homeland.

Selvete Zakuti and Beqir Kraniqi lost each other when Serbs forced them to flee their homes in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. After a month apart, the 21-year-olds found each other at a refugee camp in Macedonia. There, they boarded a flight to the United States with the first wave of refugees from the separatist Serbian province to be accepted in America.

Upon arrival at this military post May 5, they had three requests.

"They wanted to be put in the same room together, they wanted to be sponsored in the same place, and they wanted to get married," recalled Lavinia Limon, director of the Joint Task Force for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Limon encouraged the couple to work backward. They applied for a marriage license early last week.

No wedding bells rang nor vows or kisses were exchanged Sunday at the hastily planned marriage ceremony presided over by an imam, or Muslim cleric. The couple had asked that the affair not be extravagant in deference to Kosovo's suffering.

Kraniqi, whose family owned an ice cream shop, thinks his father, brother and sister are in a refugee camp in Macedonia, but he's not sure. Zakuti has been living here with her family.

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