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Western powers urge Kosovo to create new government

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PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Western powers on Friday urged Kosovo's newly elected lawmakers to move ahead in forming a government, more than a month after the election.

A statement from the embassies of France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the United States said new parliamentarians "are responsible for the formation of a new government."

The biggest grouping — ethnic Albanian former leaders from Kosovo's war of independence against Serbian troops in 1998-1999 — holds only 39 seats in the 120-seat parliament and cannot create the new Cabinet on its own.

Ramush Haradinaj, a former commander of the independence fighters, is the group's nominee as prime minister. He either needs to create a coalition with another grouping or persuade individual lawmakers to support him.

The president is expected to call the first session of the new parliament likely next week. Then he will nominate the prime minister.

If the first nominee fails, the president may name a second one. With a second failure the country goes to a new election.

"We urge the parties that form the next government to prioritize building the rule of law and fighting corruption and organized crime in all parts of Kosovo, in order to attract investment desperately needed for job creation and sustainable economic growth," said the statement.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, recognized by 114 countries, including the United States and most European Union members, but not by Serbia.

The western powers also urged Kosovo's new Government and parliament "to proceed as soon as possible with the ratification of the border agreement with Montenegro, and to engage seriously in dialogue with Serbia, in order to normalize the relations between the two countries."

The thorny issue of the border demarcation deal with Montenegro, another one on the ethnic Serb minority and the continuation of fraught talks with Serbia, which denies Kosovo's existence as a state, brought down the previous government.

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