Brussels, 19 November 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The EU said it welcomes Kosovo's weekend elections in which ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova has claimed victory, but stresses that Kosovars must respect a UN resolution recognizing the province as a part of Yugoslavia. EU foreign ministers said before a gathering in Brussels today that any change in Kosovo's legal status must come through a direct dialogue between Belgrade and Kosovo's elected leaders.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is due later today to announce the official results from Saturday's ballot. The results will determine who sits in Kosovo's new 120-seat assembly.
Rugova claimed victory yesterday for his Democratic League of Kosovo. Rugova has called on world leaders to immediately recognize Kosovo's independence.
Council of Europe representative Roman Jakic says the new assembly must be a multiethnic institution. "From the Council of Europe perspective, we are always concerned about the people that are in a weakened position in society. That is why we understand the difficulties of ethnic Serbs and other communities in Kosovo. It is our opinion that the new assembly has provided a constitutional framework and should work from the start on a multiethnic basis."
Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica has appealed for unity among Serbs to keep Kosovo within Serbia.
For more information on the elections, see Yugoslavia: Voters In Kosovo Reaffirm Backing For Rugova's Moderate LDK
and Yugoslavia: Kosovo Goes To Polls To Elect National Assembly