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Serbian PM resigns following government crisis
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Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica announced his resignation Saturday following a government crisis over the independence of Kosovo and the country's EU future.

"This is the end of the government," he told a news conference in Belgrade, two days after his coalition partners rejected a resolution aimed at blocking the country's way toward its EU membership.

"The government no longer has a common policy regarding a most important issue and a government which has no common policy cannot function," Kostunica said, adding that he has no more confidence in his coalition partners.

Kostunica accused pro-Western ministers of failing to support his efforts to preserve Kosovo as part of Serbia.

The cabinet would meet Monday to dissolve parliament and push for early parliamentary elections, and Serbia would "most rationally" hold early parliamentary elections on May 11, he said.

Kostunica's coalition government took office after the elections in January 2007.

The ministers have been split over the country's EU membership after Kosovo's independence, with some conditioning it on the independence of Kosovo while others refused to complicate the issue.

Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) has been at odds with its coalition partner, the Democratic Party (DS) of pro-Western President Boris Tadic, over EU membership after Kosovo's independence on Feb. 17.

The DSS was infuriated over most of the EU countries' recognition of Kosovo's independence and vowed to stop Serbia's integration into the European Union.

Though opposing Kosovo's independence, Tadic and his party maintained that Serbia should continue along its EU path and avoid complicating the issue by linking it to the independence of Kosovo.

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2008)

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