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Blast Targets Kosovo President

An explosive device placed in a trash container exploded in downtown Pristina Tuesday damaging the passing car carrying Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova.

The blast occurred at 8:20 am as President Rugova's motorcade was headed to a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

The president was not injured but one person was hurt by flying glass and the president's car was damaged. Shop windows were blown out from the blast which police say was apparently detonated by remote control.

Mr. Rugova, who continued with his regular schedule, said the blast proves there are still bad elements who want to destabilize Kosovo. Last week a grenade was hurled towards United Nations headquarters in Pristina.

The latest incident comes one day after former prime minister Ramush Haradinaj pleaded not guilty to war crimes at The Hague tribunal. Mr. Haradinaj, a guerilla leader in the 1998 1999 war against Serbia, was chosen by Mr. Rugova to be prime minister three months ago. He resigned last week and went to The Hague voluntarily.

This is a delicate period in Kosovo as a new prime minister is to be chosen and Mr. Solana is here to consult on that matter with Kosovar officials. Since the Serbia and Montenegro army was driven out of Kosovo by NATO forces six years ago the province has been administered by the United Nations with security provided by a NATO-led force. The 90 percent ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo seeks independence, something strongly opposed by Serbia.