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US pledges support for Kosovo, European Union hopes

US pledges support for Kosovo, European Union hopes

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — The Latest on the no-confidence vote on Kosovo's government (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

The U.S. embassy in Pristina has called on Kosovo's outgoing Cabinet to continue to "to serve Kosovo's citizens - all of them - who are their employers."

A statement issued Wednesday assured Kosovo that the U.S. will "continue in our steadfast support for Kosovo, its citizens, and its path to full Euro-Atlantic integration."

Washington has continuously pressed Kosovo to pass a border demarcation deal with neighboring Montenegro which remains the last obstacle before the European Union accepts to let Kosovar citizens travel visa-free in its Schengen member countries.

Kosovo's government failed a no-confidence vote, and an election is expected within 45 days.


6:20 p.m.

Kosovo's president has invited leaders of the political parties to join in consultation on the date for the parliamentary election.

Hashim Thaci on Wednesday sent letters of invitation proposing to start talks the next day.

Kosovo's government failed a no-confidence vote, setting the scene for an early election.

Thaci dissolved the parliament and is now expected to set a date for a parliamentary election within 30 to 45 days.


5:32 p.m.

The speaker of Kosovo's parliament is blaming Prime Minister Isa Mustafa for the no-confidence vote that has resulted in the failure of the country's governing coalition.

The political party that Speaker Kadri Veseli leads, the Democratic Party of Kosovo, was coalition partners with Mustafa's Democratic League of Kosovo.

Veseli posted a video message on Wednesday informally launching a parliamentary election campaign less than two hours after lawmakers expressed no-confidence in the existing government.

He accused the prime minister of "not taking the country ahead with the proper rhythm."

The debate before the vote clearly showed the two governing partners were not getting along.

Veseli also spoke negatively of opposition parties and said voters should support the Democratic League to give the country "a new beginning."


4:31 p.m.

Kosovo's president has formally dissolved the country's parliament after lawmakers voted no-confidence in Prime Minister Isa Mustafa's coalition government.

President Hashim Thaci issued a decree dissolving the parliament on Wednesday just hours after the government lost the no-confidence vote in a 78-34 vote.

The move means the Balkan country is likely to have a parliamentary election about a year before one was scheduled to take place.

Thaci is expected to set an election date within 30-45 days.


4:13 p.m.

The speaker of Kosovo's parliament is supporting the collapse of the country's Cabinet in which his political party was a partner.

Kadri Veseli posted a tweet after the government lost a no-confidence vote on Wednesday that the country needs a new beginning.

Veseli says the 78-34 vote "is needed for Kosovo to open exciting new chapters of our history."

The vote sets the scene for an early election, about a year before it was due. The president is expected to set an election date within 30-45 days.

It also revealed disagreements between Veseli's Democratic Party of Kosovo and Prime Minister Isa Mustafa's Democratic League of Kosovo.

Each currently holds 69 seats in the 120-member parliament.


2:43 p.m.

Kosovo's government has lost a no-confidence vote, setting up the possibility of an early election.

Prime Minister Isa Mustafa's government lost in a 78-34 vote Wednesday, with three abstentions. Opposition parties had blamed his Cabinet for being unable to carry out its program and pass important laws.

The government had been hobbled by its inability to secure a majority in parliament over a border demarcation deal with neighboring Montenegro, despite pressure from the U.S. government.

The government hasn't had enough lawmakers to pass the deal, which was signed in 2015, and Mustafa withdrew the draft bill last year. The opposition has claimed that Kosovo would lose territory under the deal, an accusation denied by the government and local and international experts.