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Top Serbian, Kosovo Leaders Open Direct Talks on Kosovo's Future


Serbian and Kosovo Albanian leaders met face-to-face Monday, for talks on the future of the United Nations-administered Kosovo province.

The one-day meeting in Vienna brought Serbian President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica together with their counterparts, Fatmir Sejdiu and Agim Ceku. It was the first such meeting since NATO warplanes drove Serb forces from the disputed province in 1999.

The two sides entered a meeting hall of the Vienna Palace separately and did not shake hands. They sat on opposite sides of a square table, posing stiffly for photographers.

Ahead of the closed meeting, U.N. mediator Martti Ahtisaari said he did not expect a breakthrough today.

Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian majority is demanding full independence, while Serbia insists Kosovo is historically and culturally an inseparable part of Serbia. Belgrade has instead offered widespread autonomy to the province.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

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