Kosovo leader to consult EU, US over independence


Brussels : Kosovo’s prime minister-in-waiting, Hashim Thaci, said Tuesday he would consult the United States and the European Union (EU) before proclaiming his province’s independence from Serbia.

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“We will take a decision on Kosovo (independence) after Dec 10, together with the US and the EU,” Thaci said.

Dec 10 marks the United Nations’ deadline for concluding diplomatic efforts led by US-EU-Russia troika. The troika is struggling to arrange a negotiated solution on the final status of the predominantly ethnic-Albanian province, which is aspiring to become an independent state.

The former guerrilla fighter was speaking ahead of troika-led talks in Brussels with Kosovo and Serbian officials.

This will be the first time that Thaci will meet face-to-face Serbian Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica, since he won the elections held in Kosovo Saturday.

Thaci’s comment appeared to suggest that the Kosovo leadership was willing to soften its stance after coming under pressure from the EU not to be too hasty about declaring unilateral independence after Dec 10.

His position was mirrored by similar remarks made by Kosovo’s president, Fatmir Sejdiu.

“We will coordinate each and every step that we take with the international community,” said Sejdiu, adding that Kosovo had a strong interest in having its state of independence recognised by the world’s main powers.

Kosovo’s plans for independence are strongly opposed by Serbia, which enjoys the backing of Russia in the UN Security Council.

Russia has already threatened to veto a deal granting Kosovo independence put forward by UN mediator Martti Ahtisaari.