Wednesday, March 23, 2005

UN's Kosovo representative welcomes democratic government transition

The UN's special representative to Kosovo Wednesday welcomed the democratic government transition there as a sign of "growing majority" in the majority ethnic Albanian Serbian province.

"The formation of the government that has taken place in full respect of democratic principles constitutes another sign of a growing maturity in Kosovo," Soren Jessen-Petersen of Denmark said in Brussels.

The Kosovo parliament Wednesday elected Bajram Kosumi as the country's new prime minister, to replace Ramush Haradinaj who resigned earlier this month following his war crimes indictment.

Speaking after meeting ambassadors of NATO countries dispatching peacekeepers to the UN-administered province, Jessen-Petersen said "we were concerned when the indictment happened but I can now say with a degree of relief ... that Kosovo is on track.

"We are moving forward," he added.

Kosovo has been under UN administration since NATO airstrikes in 1999 ended a crackdown by the then Yugoslav government of Slobodan Milosevic against the ethnic Albanian population.

The peacekeeping force known as KFOR is made up of around 18,000 soldiers.

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