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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 March, 2004, 17:32 GMT
Kostunica introduces new cabinet
Vojislav Kostunica
Kostunica is supported by a diverse coalition
Serbian Prime Minister designate Vojislav Kostunica has presented his government to parliament, more than two months after a general election.

It includes representatives of centre-right groups and is backed by the party of former president Slobodan Milosevic.

Mr Kostunica told parliament he would not let the majority ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo gain independence.

He added that he would base co-operation with the war-crimes tribunal in The Hague on Serbia's interests.

Parliament is expected to approve the new government - which was formed after weeks of argument between political parties.

In his speech, Mr Kostunica - a moderate conservative and a nationalist - promised to fight corruption and bring Serbia and Montenegro into the European Union.

Extraditions

While economic and anti-corruption policies will be followed most closely at home, the comments on Kosovo and the war-crimes tribunal will be carefully monitored abroad, BBC correspondent Nick Thorpe says.

Mr Kostunica told parliament co-operation with the tribunal should be a two-way process, with more emphasis on trials in domestic courts.

The EU wants Serbia to take stronger action against war crimes suspects, but senior officials from the Socialist Party have threatened to withdraw their support if the government takes such action.

The prime minister designate did not mention the central demand of the tribunal - the extradition of 15 Serbs who have already been indicted.

On Kosovo, Mr Kostunica suggested two ways to protect the Serbian minority - either cantonisation or the division of Kosovo along ethnic lines.

Our correspondent says the proposals are not new but have been given extra weight by the speech.


SEE ALSO:
EU concern over Serb socialists
16 Feb 04  |  Europe
Ultra-nationalists top Serb poll
29 Dec 03  |  Europe
Ghosts haunt Serbian poll
27 Dec 03  |  Europe
Country profile: Serbia and Montenegro
14 Dec 03  |  Country profiles


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