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Monday, June 21, 1999 Published at 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK

World: Europe

Running Kosovo: Key candidates

World leaders are debating who to put in charge of the civil administration of Kosovo in advance of any permanent peace deal. Candidates are already being put forward by governments and diplomats. Here are the main contenders for the post.

Click on the links below to read about each figure.

Bodo Hombach IPaddy Ashdown I Emma Bonino I Dick Spring I Hans van den Broek I Jacques Klein I Lakhdar Brahimi

Bodo Hombach

Bodo Hombach is German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's candidate for the job.

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He became available on 24 June when he left his job as Chancellor Schröder's chief of staff.

According to some reports, he was sacked because the chancellor had become increasingly frustrated with his performance.

Mr Hombach, 46, has made his name as a brilliant election strategist who helped Mr Schröder to power.

He is regarded as a "bruiser", very outspoken and with a hands-on approach to politics.

His friends cite his talent for improvisation but critics have branded him a showman who overestimates his own abilities.

While he had undeniable successes on the German national stage, his accomplishments at an international level are relatively few.

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Paddy Ashdown

The departing leader of the UK's Liberal Democrats, is the British government's preferred candidate for the top job in Kosovo.

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A former career soldier and diplomat, he has taken a high-profile interest in the disintegration of Yugoslavia and has been a frequent critic of international policy, arguing that the West could have done more to prevent ethnic conflict.

Between 1959 and 1972, Mr Ashdown served as a Royal Marines Officer and saw active service.

After Special Forces Training in 1965, he commanded a Special Boat Section before studying Chinese in Hong Kong.

In 1972, he joined the Foreign Office and became involved in treaty negotiations at United Nations level between 1974 and 1976 before entering parliament.

His supporters say that he is ideally placed to take the job, thanks to his military and diplomatic background and experience of the region.

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Emma Bonino

Known for her no-nonsense approach, Emma Bonino is one of the most well-known officials in the European Union.

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In the UK, her policies as commissioner for fisheries have incurred the wrath of the Euro-sceptic press.

But in Brussels, she emerged unscathed from the damning report into fraud and mismanagement at the heart of the commission.

Ms Bonino has been unafraid to speak out in her high-profile role as the acting commissioner for humanitarian affairs.

In May, she said that the international relief effort to aid Kosovo refugees lacked co-ordination.

A month earlier, she backed military intervention to establish safe areas for the hundreds of thousands of displaced people.

She has the backing of the Italian government which described her candidature as "very solid".

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Dick Spring

The former leader of the Irish Labour party and foreign minister left public office after 15 years at the head of his party.

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The barrister and former Rugby Union international was the second in command in three coalition governments before he resigned in 1997 to give his party time to rebuild itself without him.

He gained experience of dealing with inter-community tensions through his role in developing the Northern Ireland peace process.

One correspondent to the Irish Times newspaper sardonically wrote of his departure from front bench politics: "The longer he stayed, the greater was the risk that politics would get a bad name.

"Who wants a leader to be intelligent, analytical, articulate, incisive, distinctive, focused, determined, and unequivocal - not to mention principled and respected?"

One Irish newspaper suggested that Mr Spring's chances of landing the job have been helped by the fact that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan reportedly wants to appoint somebody from a non-Nato nation.

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Hans van den Broek

The former Dutch foreign minister saw his international profile raised when he took on the tough task of preparing the European Union for enlargement.

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The lawyer has also handled the equally difficult brief of attempting to map a route towards a common EU foreign policy - work which has led to the appointment of Nato's Secretary-General Javier Solana as the first Brussels commissioner for security and foreign policy.

He has first-hand experience of the Kosovo crisis.

In March, he held face-to-face negotiations with Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade during the build-up to the Nato air strikes, urging the Serbian president to accept the Rambouillet peace deal.

During his time in Brussels, he reported on human rights and also led negotiations with Russia - a key skill for the Kosovo post. He is known to respond cuttingly to criticism and also for thinking out loud.

He reportedly once sang songs from the musical My Fair Lady to members of his cabinet while his daughter married a member of the Dutch royal family.

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Jacques Klein

In a speech this month, Mr Klein, the Principal Deputy High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina, accused Slobodan Milosevic of having "unleashed a whirlwind of destruction and violence" in the Balkans.

"The Iron Curtain has been replaced by a new division with South Eastern Europe," he told the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.

"Behind it languishes a zone of instability and misery. At its core lies a regime that for a decade now has exported hatred and bloodshed."

The US diplomat and former general with three decades of military experience is widely respected as a tough enforcer.

Last year he was linked to the post of head of the international monitoring mission to Kosovo - a job that eventually went to William Walker.

In 1997, he received praise for averting a potential fresh crisis in Bosnia when he prevented hardline Serb nationalists from seizing the presidential palace in an apparent coup attempt.

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Lakhdar Brahimi

Algerian-born Lakhdar Brahimi is the latest United Nations official charged with attempting to bring some semblance of peace to Afghanistan.

The veteran diplomat, appointed to the post in 1997, has travelled extensively in the region in an effort to forge a peace deal.

He recognised that no peace agreement could work within Afghanistan without the backing of neighbouring nations.

Earlier this year, he launched an intensive month-long attempt to bring both sides to the negotiating table.

Mr Brahimi's career has seen him work as the United Nations special representative to the Great Lakes region of Africa, Zaire, Yemen, South Africa and Haiti. He also attempted to mediate in Angola.

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