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WORLD IN BRIEF

Sunday, December 5, 2004; Page A23

Serbia Seeks to Annul Vote on Kosovo Premier

BELGRADE -- Serbia on Saturday demanded the U.N. administrator of Kosovo annul the election of the province's new prime minister, a former rebel leader accused by Serbs of war crimes.

Belgrade officials said the Kosovo parliament had jeopardized talks on the province's future as well as regional stability by choosing ethnic Albanian Ramush Haradinaj.

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Disarming Northern Ireland

"A man who carries a heavy burden of crimes committed in both war and peace was elected the head of government," Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said. "That could have a decisive influence on the situation in Kosovo and the whole region."

Kostunica said Belgrade would present its demand for Haradinaj's removal in letters to Kosovo's U.N. administrator, Soren Jessen-Petersen, the U.N. Security Council and the European Union.

Haradinaj was voted to the post of the prime minister on Friday by Kosovo's newly elected assembly.

EUROPE

BELFAST -- The Irish Republican Army still has not contacted the Northern Ireland disarmament chief, raising doubts about the outlawed group's alleged commitment to a peace deal, the major Protestant leader declared.

Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley -- whose uncompromising British Protestant party is resisting pressure to form an administration alongside Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party backed by most Catholics -- said he wouldn't revive power-sharing unless the IRA disarms and shuts down.

Paisley spoke after meeting John de Chastelain, a retired Canadian general who since 1997 has led efforts to disarm the IRA and Northern Ireland's other illegal groups. De Chastelain declined to comment.

PARIS -- Police at Paris's top airport lost track of a passenger's bag in which plastic explosives were placed to train bomb-sniffing dogs, police said. Warned that the bag may have gotten on any of nearly 90 flights from Charles de Gaulle airport, authorities searched planes upon arrival in Los Angeles and New York.

French police said the explosives were harmless and there was no chance of their going off, since no detonators were connected to them.

ASIA

KABUL, Afghanistan -- NATO-led peacekeepers said they had stepped up ground and air patrols to prevent rocket attacks in the Afghan capital before next Tuesday's presidential inauguration, which could be a target for militants.

President Hamid Karzai's swearing-in after his victory in Oct. 9 elections will be attended by Vice President Cheney, the most senior American to visit Kabul since U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taliban in late 2001.


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