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US Welcomes New Kosovo Government

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns has congratulated top Kosovo leaders on the creation of a new government for the breakaway Serbian province.

The State Department in a statement says Burns assured Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci of full U.S. support for the earliest possible resolution of Kosovo's final status. He urged both leaders to work peacefully and responsibly to implement the status settlement.

The undersecretary says the United States believes quick implementation of United Nations mediator Martti Ahtisaari's plan for supervised independence for Kosovo and measures to protect the province's minorities will promote stability and enable both Kosovo and Serbia to move toward greater cooperation with NATO and the European Union.

Kosovo lawmakers Wednesday reelected Mr. Sejdiu to another term and confirmed Mr. Thaci's coalition government.

The Kosovo leaders have pledged to help lead the province to independence from Serbia, as demanded by the province's ethnic Albanian majority.

Months of internationally-mediated talks between Serbia and the Kosovo Albanians ended in November with no agreement.

Serbia has offered Kosovo broad autonomy with many characteristics of statehood but insisted on maintaining sovereignty over the area.

Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since 1999, when NATO air strikes halted a Serbian crackdown on the area's ethnic Albanians.