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EU, UN Urge Speed in Naming New Kosovo Prime Minister


The European Union and the United Nations are urging speed and inclusiveness in the naming of a new prime minister in Kosovo. Former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj was forced to resign seven days ago and turn himself in to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. VOA's Barry Wood has more from Pristina.

Top EU foreign policy official Javier Solana is urging Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova to move quickly in naming a new prime minister. The two met in Pristina as tensions mount following the indictment of the popular former government leader Ramush Haradinaj.

Mr. Solana says the talks with President Rugova were very productive.

"President Rugova has promised me today that he will meet in the coming hours with all the leaders, with all the political leaders, so that before a decision is taken on how is to be constructed the next government, he wants to have a dialogue, a conversation with all the political leaders that exist now in the parliament," said Mr. Solana.

The European Union is the principal power in providing financial assistance and peacekeepers to the NATO-led stability force in Kosovo. Western powers worry about more violence as Kosovo absorbs the shock of the previous prime minister's exit and the first anniversary of anti-Serb riots that shocked the international community.

Danish diplomat Soren Jessen-Petersen, the U.N. administrator in Kosovo, joined Mr. Solana in meeting reporters. He says the people of Kosovo have responded with calm and dignity to the events of the past week.

"Now we have to look ahead,” said Mr. Jessen-Petersen. “The next 100 days are crucial. The next 100 days will decide whether enough progress has been made for a positive review this summer so that status talks could begin and be launched next autumn. There is no time to lose."

Mr. Jessen-Petersen says this is a crucial moment for Kosovo. With tension high, additional German, American, and British troops have reinforced the NATO-led force in Kosovo.

While technically still part of Serbia, Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian 90 percent majority wants independence, which Serbia opposes.

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