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Bush in Bulgaria to Discuss Kosovo


President Bush is in Bulgaria on the last stop of the president's European tour.

After a lavish greeting ceremony Monday in the capital, Sofia, Mr. Bush went into talks with Bulgaria's leaders, President Georgi Parvanov and Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, to discuss the political future of Kosovo, which currently is before the U.N. Security Council. The United States says Kosovo should be fully independent of Serbian rule.

The president's agenda in Sofia also includes talks about the campaign to free five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who face the death sentence in Libya, where they were accused of infecting children with AIDS.

The United States and many other countries dispute the Libyan charges against the health workers, and are demanding their immediate freedom.

The president arrived in Bulgaria late Sunday after a visit to Albania, where he spoke strongly on the Kosovo issue.

Mr. Bush said the time has come to decide Kosovo's fate, and that any more talks on the future of the Serbian province must have "certain independence" as their goal.

Ninety percent of Kosovo's people are ethnic Albanians, and almost all of them want to be fully autonomous and cut any ties to Serbia. The Belgrade government and Russia - Serbia's long-time ally - fiercely oppose independence.

The U.N. Security Council is currently considering a U.S.-backed plan for supervised independence for Kosovo.

The president urged Albanian leaders to work with Kosovo's ethnic Albanians to maintain peace and calm until the Council makes its decision on Kosovo's future.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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