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UN Security Council Holding Talks on Status of Kosovo


Members of the U.N. Security Council are calling for stronger efforts toward progress at the stalled talks on the status of Serbia's Kosovo province.

In New York Wednesday, the United States said both Serbia and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority must be realistic about the outcome of the U.N.-mediated talks. A U.S. official said Kosovo must remain multi-ethnic and any decision must be acceptable to the people of Kosovo.

Russia said the lack of concrete and effective standards for the talks remains one of the factors slowing the pace and progress at the discussions.

U.N. mediators have been trying to narrow differences between representatives of Serbia and of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority on the future of the Serbian province. The ethnic Albanians insist on independence, but the Serb minority and Belgrade both want Serbia to retain some control over the province.

On Tuesday, Serbia's parliament voted overwhelmingly to include a declaration in its planned new constitution declaring Kosovo an integral and historic part of Serbia.

The two sides have made little progress in the talks that began in February.

In a report to the Security Council on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed disappointment in what he says is the lack of common ground between the Kosovo Albanian and Serbian delegations.

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow may veto any council resolution unless it addresses the rules of international relations to all regions equally. He said it would be wrong to apply one rule for Kosovo, and others for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway regions of Georgia.

Meanwhile, in Pristina Wednesday, visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Rosemary DiCarlo said Washington wants Kosovo's status to be resolved through negotiations before the end of this year. Following the U.N. talks Wednesday the next round of talks on Kosovo will be held in Austria on Friday.

Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since 1999, when NATO airstrikes drove out Serbian and Yugoslav security forces that were carrying out a campaign of violence against ethnic Albanians.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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