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US Official Says Delay on Kosovo Status Helps No One


A senior U.S. diplomat says the parties in Kosovo should decide the fate of the breakaway Serbian province by the end of the year.

U.S. Kosovo envoy Frank Wisner says a delay would offer no advantages to any of the parties. He spoke in Belgrade after meeting with top Serbian officials, including President Boris Tadic, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic.

The envoy told reporters after the meetings that a delay would only leave in limbo resolution of the issue. He stressed that the region needs to close the door on its past.

Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanian population wants complete independence from Serbia, where voters Sunday approved a new constitution that reaffirms the country's claim on the southern province.

Serbian officials say negotiations must continue until the two sides find a solution acceptable to both.

President Tadic has asked United Nations mediators and European Union officials to delay the final decision on Kosovo until after the Serbian general election. But no date for the vote has been set.

Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since 1999.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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