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Yugoslavia: Kosovar Premier Threatens To Declare Independence

Brussels, 5 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The prime minister of Kosovo, Bajram Rexhepi (pictured), says the province would declare independence if the international community accepts a new draft constitution for former Yugoslavia which describes the UN-ruled province as part of Serbia. Rexhepi made the comment following talks in Brussels today. He was referring to the preamble of a proposed constitution for Serbia and Montenegro as they prepare to establish a new union from the former Yugoslavia.

But the top UN official in Kosovo, Michael Steiner, told Rexhepi that the proposed text would not affect the province's status as a de facto protectorate of the UN Security Council.

Kosovo is still technically a province of Serbia, but it has been under UN Security Council control since NATO's 1999 bombing campaign to end Serb repression of ethnic Albanians.