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Kosovo Albanian parties reach accord on new government; UN welcomes move

Kosovo Albanian parties reach accord on new government; UN welcomes move

The United Nations Security Council and Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed an agreement reached early this morning in Kosovo on the province’s President and Government, breaking the deadlock that had prevented the formation of new governing institutions since last November’s general elections.

Following more than five hours of discussions, leaders of the three main Albanian parties signed an agreement at 1:15 a.m. in the presence of Mr. Annan’s Special Representative for Kosovo, Michael Steiner.

The three parties agreed that Ibrahim Rugova should be President of Kosovo, and that Bajram Rexhepi should be Prime Minister. Both posts will require a majority vote by the 120-seat Kosovo Assembly, which is expected to meet Monday when the remaining members of the Assembly Presidency will be elected, and 10 ministers will be named.

“After more than three months of political stalemate, this is good news for Kosovo,” Mr. Annan said in a statement released in Berlin, where he is on an official visit. “I am glad that the political leaders appear to have put their difficulties behind them. Building a coalition such as this takes courage. Now, after endorsement by the Kosovo Assembly the real work will begin.”

The Secretary-General also pledged his support to Mr. Rugova and Mr. Rexhepi, adding “I know that both are committed to building a positive future for all of Kosovo.”

In New York, the members of the Security Council said they were “pleased” by the agreement, which they called “a very important step forward in the implementation of resolution 1244 and in the establishment of provisional self-governing institutions in Kosovo,” according to a press statement by Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico, the current President of the Council.

He said Council members looked forward to the elected leaders “working in this positive spirit to build a better future for all inhabitants of Kosovo.” The Council also expressed appreciation to the Secretary-General for his contribution in facilitating the agreement and voiced its support to the efforts of Mr. Steiner.