Kosovo’s parliament has approved a coalition government led by former guerilla leader Hashim Thachi. Deputies voted by 85 to 22 to back his Democratic Party in a coalition with the Democratic League of Kosovo. The 39-year-old Prime Minister has pledged to steer the UN-administered province to formal independence in the next few weeks: “In a matter of weeks Kosovo will be an independent, sovereign and democratic country. A country for everybody, a country that will respect the rights of minorities through affirmative actions. But Kosovo will do everything through close co-operation with our partners in Washington and Brussels. No unilateral actions.”
Serbia, backed by its main ally Russia, has offered Kosovo supervised autonomy and wants discussions to continue within the context of the UN. But nothing short of full independence will do for Kosovo’s 90 percent ethnic Albanian population.
The EU is to send a police and civil service mission to Pristina to take over from the UN.
Western countries hope that no moves will be made by Kosovo until after Serbia’s presidential election later this month.