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Haradinaj departs for The Hague

Prishtina, March 10, 2005 - Former Kosovo premier Ramush Haradinaj departed for The Hague on a U.N. airplane from Pristina Airport in the morning of March 9.

Haradinaj resigned from the post of Kosovo's prime minister on March 8 and expressed his readiness to surrender to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia immediately after receiving that court's indictment charging him with war crimes.

Hundreds of citizens gathered at the airport to see him off.

Haradinaj made no statement for the press, but thanked all the people rallied at the airport before entering the plane.

Haradinaj left for the Hague in the company of his wife, Anita, and his fellow fighter, Lahi Brahmaj.

White House welcomes Haradinaj's decision

Washington welcomed the decision of Kosovo Premier Ramush Haradinaj to resign and surrender to the Hague tribunal, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher stated in the evening of March 8.

It was said in the statement that Haradinaj's move "demonstrated his great concern for the future of Kosovo and its citizens." It also said that 2005 will be an important year for Kosovo and that peace must be preserved and standards implemented in order for its status to be solved.

"Violence will not be tolerated and will have a negative effect on the solving of Kosovo's future. We will continue working on these issues with the temporary government of Kosovo," Boucher said. The U.S. once again called on all sides in Kosovo and in the Balkans to cooperate with the Hague tribunal in order to come closer to European integration.

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