Washington, 10 January 2008 – The third-ranking official of the U.S. State Department telephoned congratulations to the president and prime minister of Kosovo on Thursday after the Serbian province’s parliament formed a coalition government to lead to supervised independence.

Department spokesman Tom Casey said Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns promised Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and President Fatmir Sejdiu the full support of the United States «for the earliest possible resolution to Kosovo’s final status.

The two officials’ political parties have formed a coalition government in preparation for settlement of the province’s political future.

While still a province of Serbia, Kosovo has been under the control of the United Nations and NATO since a 78-day U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign in 1999 ended a Serb crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians. The United States supports a supervised independence plan developed by U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari

In a statement, the State Department urged «prompt implementation of the Ahtisaari plan,» including not only its supervised independence idea but its guarantees that the province’s ethnic Serb minority will be protected.

Source: AP