Kosovo cabinet in place, independence next on agenda

( dpa ) - The Kosovo parliament on Wednesday backed the new Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, President Fatmir Sejdiu and their government built on promises of independence and closer alignment with the West.

"We are ready to turn Kosovo into an independent, sovereign state in the first part of the year," Thaci said before the vote. "We will turn our dream, the right to an independent Kosovo, into reality."

Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and Sejdiu's Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) overcame rivalries to forge an alliance tasked with engineering secession from Serbia.

The two largest parties in Kosovo, the PDK and LDK combined for 62 out of the 120 seats in the parliament in the November 17 election. Thaci and Sejdiu both placed independence on top of the coalition's agenda.

The new cabinet, passed with 85 votes in favour, 22 against and 4 officials abstaining, has a four-year term, double what it was before the UN administration in Kosovo amended the province's constitution framework earlier this week.

Sejdiu kept the post within the power-sharing deal. He resigned and was re-elected by parliament just before, his mandate extended from three to five years. Sejdiu had 68 votes behind him.

"Kosovo institutions will finalize the process of independence," Sejdiu, 56, said. "We'll undertake all the necessary steps to accelerate our integration in the Euro-Atlantic structures."

The new Kosovo cabinet has two deputy premiers, one each from the PDK and LDK, and 15 ministries, seven run by the PDK, five by the LDK and the remaining three by minority officials - two Serbs and a Turk.

Nominally still Serbia's province, Kosovo has been run by a UN administration since NATO ousted Belgrade's security forces to end ethnic bloodshed there in 1999.

A 90-per-cent majority among 2.2 million Kosovars, the Albanians impatiently hope that independence would finally allow them to turn around the moribund economy and curb rampant crime and corruption.

Thaci acknowledged problems other than the status issue: "We know that independence will not solve all our problems, so we should ready ourselves to face the new problems in the next phase."

The United States and most EU countries back Kosovo's independence bid, but Russia has supported Serbia's claim of property and has blocked a secession recognized by the UN.

Thaci and Kosovo are left with the option of a unilateral declaration of independence, which Western powers would recognize, but not Serbia and Russia, along with a few EU countries.

The EU is expected to decide on January 28 on sending 1,800 experts within a law-implementation mission that would replace the lumbering UN administration and help Kosovo's first sovereign steps.

Pristina officials hinted at a declaration of independence in the first quarter of 2008. According to a tentative agenda, it would come after the Serbian presidential election run-off on February 3.

Belgrade has threatened "measures" against Kosovo, including trade sanctions and a border blockade, if it declares independence.

Serbia's fragile, uneasy government coalition is deeply divided over Kosovo, unsure whether to continue the country's approach to the EU if the 27-member bloc deploys the Kosovo mission against Belgrade's will.

Serbia insists that the UN presence may not be changed or replaced without the approval of the UN Security Council - which is impossible while Russia opposes it. That path would condemn Kosovo to remain in a limbo that the West plainly does not want to sustain any longer.

The new Kosovo government:

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci Deputy PM Hajredin Kuqi (PDK) Deputy PM Rame Manaj (LDK) Minister of Energy and Mines Ms. Justina Pula-Shiroka (PDK) Minister of Justice Nekibe Kelmendi (LDK) Minister of Education, Science and Technology Enver Hoxhaj (PDK), Minister of Health Alush Gashi (LDK), Minister of Internal Affairs Zenun Pajaziti (PDK) Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Skender Hyseni (LDK), Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Idriz Vehapi (PDK), Minister of Trade and Industry Lutfi Zharku (LDK), Minister of Local Governance and Administration Sadri Ferati (LDK), Minister of Economy and Finance Ahmet Shala (PDK), Minister of Transport and Telecommunication Fatmir Limaj (PDK), Minister of Public Services Arsim Bajrami (PDK), Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Mahir Yagcilar (Kosovo Turk Democratic Party) Minister of Returns and Communities Boban Stankovic Minister of Work and Social Welfare Nenad Rasic

Turkey's export of grain, legumes to Russia down
Turkey's export of grain, legumes to Russia down
Russia has great demand for Turkish jewelry
Russia has great demand for Turkish jewelry
Georgia decreases import of wheat and meslin from Russia
Georgia decreases import of wheat and meslin from Russia
Loading Bars
Demand on Georgian canning factory products decreases
Chinese FM says China ready to help Azerbaijan fight coronavirus
Iran launches mass production of coronavirus diagnostic tests
Coronavirus cases increase in Georgia
Foreign direct investment in Georgia's mining sector increases
U.S. Department of State, USAID providing $1.7M in health assistance to help Azerbaijan
Value of exported products via Astara customs announced in Iran
Azerbaijan's Internal Ministry: Entry, exit from Sheki district restricted (PHOTO)
Coronavirus cases count exceeds 200 in Kazakhstan
Most popular transport for visiting Turkey revealed
Azerbaijan's Internal Ministry: Entry, exit from Gazakh district restricted (VIDEO)
China's success in curbing coronavirus spread affected oil market - Iran's official
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Moldova through its ports
Iran opens its first mobile coronavirus lab (PHOTO)
Total amount of donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight Against Coronavirus announced
BP: 3D seismic survey program on Block D230 completed successfully
Iran reveals funds allocated to battle coronavirus spread
Turkey names new minister of transport and infrastructure
Iran's export down since early March
Online supermarket created with help of Azerbaijani Agency for Development of SMEs
Iran talks investments made in Persian Gulf Mining and Metal Industries SEZ
Forecast growth in new solar, wind plants to be wiped out for 2020
Exports of products up in Iran's Isfahan province
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Georgia through its ports
Oil price slump could lead to flow of capital towards renewable energy
Production shut-ins amid lower oil prices may be substantial this time
Azerbaijani company begins production of pure alcohol
Gross external debt of Georgia increases
International Investment Position of Georgia down
Iranian currency rates for March 28
Azerbaijan's parliament discloses MPs' coronavirus test results
Iran announces number of wells drilled in oil, gas sector
Azerbaijan’s Salyan District Executive Power announces tender for repair services
Azerbaijan’s Salyan District Executive Power announces tender
Anglo Asian Mining continuing with gold production in Azerbaijan
Iran's president urges for proper implementation of social distancing plan
WB provides additional support to improving efficiency and innovation in Azerbaijan’s judicial system
Outlook for oil market remains bleak in near-term
Kazakhstan increasing furniture, wood imports from Turkey
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 21 times
Coronavirus significantly affects real estate market of Georgia
Iran develops medkits for coronavirus testing
Iran hopes to curb and even eliminate coronavirus spread in upcoming weeks
Iran's housing sales drop due to coronavirus outbreak
Georgian Poti port receives permission for expansion
Georgian TPP receives electricity generating license
Galt & Taggart Investment Bank forecasts possible coronavirus impact on Georgian economy
Review of car re-exports statistics in Georgia
Review of Georgian banking sector external debt
NATO praises Georgia’s efforts against coronavirus
TAP to shape Italy’s gas market in several ways: WoodMac
Australia tightens social distancing rules to combat coronavirus
U.S. COVID-19 cases top 100,000 as deaths surpass 1,500
Number of COVID-19 cases increases in Georgia
Brunei reports first coronavirus death
Mexico registers 717 coronavirus cases, and 12 total deaths
Turkey to cancel all int'l flights over COVID-19 fears
Chile government negotiates bill-paying delay for poor as coronavirus bites
Oman announces 22 new cases of coronavirus, 131 in total
Four passengers die on cruise ship with coronavirus outbreak off Panama
Belgium extends lockdown period until April 18
COVID-19 death toll rises to 12 in Israel
Italy has yet to hit coronavirus peak, lockdown set to be extended
Azerbaijan tightens special quarantine regime
How EU gas markets prepared for coronavirus?
British PM Johnson has coronavirus, self-isolates in Downing Street
Azercell called on Azerbaijanis to show solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic
43 more test positive for coronavirus in Azerbaijan
Greenfields Petroleum announces agreement to defer payment of its senior secured debt
Azerbaijan’s president signs decree to exempt import of some medical supplies from VAT
Azerbaijan's Azeltech talks difficulties in buying composite materials for production
AZAL talks rules for flights on Baku-Nakhchivan-Baku routes for Azerbaijani citizens
Azerbaijan's logistic company talks reasons for decline in freight traffic volumes
Operation of express buses to airport limited in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan restricts entry/exit from regions
Volume of cargo transshipment through Turkish port of Cesme announced
Azerbaijan's parliament to discuss joining another international document
Azerbaijani MPs to sit no less than 2 meters apart at parliament's session
Current account deficit reaches its historical minimum in Georgia
Volume of cargo transshipment from Slovenia through Turkish ports disclosed
Volume of cargo transshipment from Tunisia through Turkish ports disclosed
Georgia increases imports of chemical products from Turkey
Georgian TBC Bank signs loan agreement with OPEC Fund
BOTAS International Limited reveals volume of oil transshipment from Ceyhan terminal
Volume of loans issued by commercial banks of Georgia decreases
S&P talks Kazakhstan's mitigation of current oil price shock effects
Volume of cargo transshipment from Iran through Turkish ports disclosed
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Lebanon through its ports
Volume of cargo transshipment from Libya through Turkish ports disclosed
Volume of cargo transshipment from Romania through Turkish ports disclosed
Azerbaijan reveals volume of cargo transportation by all modes of transport
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Algeria through its ports
All ventures to suspend operation in two Kazakh cites to battle coronavirus
Movement of transit trucks ensured in Azerbaijan, says ministry (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's Emergency Ministry increases number of tents at border reception and sorting points (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Coronavirus cases detected in two more Kazakh regions for first time
Belavia extends flight suspension to Georgia
Azerbaijan launched additional six plants producing medical alcohol, says minister
Weekly review of Georgian capital markets
PM: Azerbaijani state to undertake all required measures to combat coronavirus
All news