Independence date decided and soon, new Kosovo premier says
( dpa ) - Kosovo would soon announce its independence and big Western powers already know when it would happen, the new Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said Thursday.
"We will announce the date of independence very soon, though Brussels, Washington and Pristina already know that date," Thaci said after he took over the office from his predecessor, Agim Ceku.
The Kosovo parliament passed Thaci's coalition government on Wednesday. The top priority of the coalition is to secure Kosovo's independence from Serbia in the first quarter of 2008.
"No we're in the process of finalizing the process of forming ... our state," Thaci said after the formal ceremony.
Ceku, who failed to meet the promise of independence during his two-year term, said that Thaci was assuming power "in the time when Kosovo is ready."
"The government now has clear priorities and Prime Minister Thaci will have one burden less, because the status of Kosovo will be resolved very soon," Ceku said.
Thaci's government is expected to proclaim the independence of Kosovo some time after Serbia holds its presidential election run-off on February 3.
Meanwhile, in late January, the European Union is expected to decide on sending a law-implementation mission to relieve a United Nations administration after eight years and help Kosovo's first sovereign steps.
The EU and the United States are backing Kosovo's independence bid, fuelled by aspirations of the Albanian majority, which makes up 90 per cent of the 2.2 million Kosovars.
Serbia vehemently opposes both the independence and the deployment of the EU mission.