The United States condemned the apparent assassination attempt against Ibrahim Rugova, president of Kosovo, a largely autonomous region of Serbia, and said whoever set the explosive device should be caught and tried quickly.
Adam Ereli, spokesman for the State Department, also appealed to Kosovo's leaders "not to let this incident derail their commitments to forming a new government and continuing to implement the standards."
Negotiations under the aegis of the United Nations are under way to agree to U.N. standards ds on human rights, the rights of minorities and the return of displaced people. Without agreement, talks cannot begin on resolving Kosovo' s political status.
The region legally is part of Serbia-Montenegro, the union that replaced Yugoslavia,. and has been under U.N. and NATO control since a 78-day, NATO-led air war halted a Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in 1999.
Rugova escaped harm Tuesday in the explosion of a bomb that appeared to have been hidden in a trash can. Investigators said the device apparently was detonated by remote control as Rugova's convoy passed.
Ereli described the attack as cowardly and said the United States reiterated "that violence in any form will not be tolerated and can only hurt Kosovo's future."