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Kosovo: New President Calls For Independence

Pristina, Yugoslavia; 4 March 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Kosovo's newly elected president, Ibrahim Rugova, today called for international recognition of the province as an independent state. In his first statement in office, Rugova told the province's parliament that he will work to make Kosovo free, democratic, prosperous, and independent from Yugoslavia.

The parliament today elected Rugova as president and appointed Bajram Rexhepi as prime minister following a power-sharing deal reached last week between the two largest political parties.

The assembly has approved a cabinet which comprises 10 ministers. One ministerial post is reserved for an ethnic Serb minister and another for a member of Kosovo's other minorities.

In spite of the new government, the UN administrator in Kosovo, Michael Steiner of Germany, retains veto power over local authorities.