PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - Kosovo's President Ibrahim Rugova congratulated British Prime Minister Tony Blair's re-election Friday, hailing it as a victory of his "visionary" policy.
"Your victory for the third term as a prime minister is a confirmation of your active and visionary policy for your country, the European and international politics," Rugova said in a statement.
"I am convinced that we will have your support in ... the recognition of Kosovo's independence, so that my country can soon join the union of the free nations of the free world," he said.
Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since 1999, following a NATO war aimed at stopping Serb forces' crackdown on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians. Rugova is at the forefront of ethnic Albanian demands for independence. The province's minority Serb community wants Kosovo to remain part of Serbia-Montenegro, the union that replaced Yugoslavia.
Blair is popular with the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo for his pro-intervention stance during the province's 1998-1999 war.