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Serbia: Wait 20 Years for Kosovo Independence


Serbia is calling for a 20-year waiting period before any decision on whether its province of Kosovo should become independent.

Serbian President Boris Tadic told the U.N. Security Council the ethnic Albanians who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's population would be "totally self-governing" during that 20-year period, with no oversight role for the Serb government in Belgrade.

Mr. Tadic said his proposal is contingent on international guarantees that the Serb minority in Kosovo wo uld have the same "very wide autonomy" (from ethnic-Albanian authorities in Pristina).

Kosovo's prime minister Bajram Kosumi, who also attended the Security Council meeting Tuesday, told reporters such proposals are unacceptable. After more than five years of U.N. administration, the prime minister says, the people of Kosovo deserve a "chance to create their own lives and live in freedom."

The VOA United Nations correspondent says comments by Security Council members indicate they feel the Kosovo issue should be settled this year, and that independence is a likely option.

U.N.-sponsored talks on the future of Kosovo are scheduled to open Monday.

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