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Restoring power is 'top priority'

BRITISH COMPANIES will start repairs to Kosovo's damaged power system within weeks, industry minister John Battle claimed on Tuesday.

Speaking to NCE from a two-day Regeneration Taskforce mission to Kosovo, Battle said restoring the power system was the 'absolute top priority'.

He added: 'We are treating this as a spark-up project and want to get some detailed plans under way very quickly.

'We are talking to British firms involved in the power industry and hope to get public-private partnership funding within weeks, not months.'

Kosovo's two main power stations have suffered from a lack of investment for the past 10 years and power lines were targeted by Nato bombing attacks.

Without urgent repairs to the system, water supply pumps and manufacturing industries will be unable to function, said Battle.

The eight-strong task force, which included industry bosses and Government officials (NCE last week), carried out aerial surveys to assess damage and spoke with Kosovan businessmen and the minister for construction and industry in neighbouring Macedonia.

Battle described the meetings as 'very positive' and said British firms would now be encouraged to partner with local companies. A full report on the visit is due to be reported at a conference today.

(see feature page 14)

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