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Two Kosovo parties reach coalition agreement

By Xinhua

Belgrade : Kosovo’s two leading political parties on Saturday reached an agreement on forming a coalition that will rule the independence-seeking Serbian province, said reports reaching here from Kosovo.

“An agreement has been reached, the only thing left to do is to sign it,” said Hajredin Kuqi, vice president of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), which won Kosovo’s parliamentary elections on Nov. 17.

Kuqi made the comment to local media after a meeting of the leaders of the two parties — Prime Minister-elect Hashim Thaci of the PDK and Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

Under the agreement, the PDK will appoint a prime minister and run seven ministries, while the LDK will appoint a president of Kosovo, a deputy prime minister and five ministers. Three ministries will be allotted to the ethnic minorities.

Thaci said the Kosovo parliament would elect a speaker and a new government at a session due to take place on Jan. 9.

The new Kosovo parliament was constituted in the provincial capital Pristina on Friday, while the election of the parliament speaker and the new government was postponed to next week.

Kosovo has been run by the U.N. mission since 1999 when NATO bombing forced the pullout of Serbian forces fighting against insurgent ethnic Albanians who are in the majority in the southern Serbian province.

Following failed talks between Belgrade and Pristina on the future status of the province, Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leaders have pledged they would unilaterally proclaim independence in early 2008, but no move is likely to take place before presidential elections in Serbia set for Jan. 20.

Kosovo’s proclamation of independence is likely to be recognized by the United States and a number of European countries, but Serbia and its ally Russia said they would oppose any such move.