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Kostunica Urges Withdrawal of Latest UN Draft Resolution on Kosovo


Serbia's prime minister has called on the United States and other western countries to withdraw their United Nations resolution proposing supervised independence for Kosovo province.

Vojislav Kostunica Thursday said a suggested four-month delay in implementing independence will not lead to real negotiations. He said the measure would violate the U.N. charter and he thanked Russia for its readiness to veto it.

The draft proposes the four-month delay to give Serbia and leaders of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority more time for talks. Russia and Serbia oppose the draft because it proposes that Kosovo independence automatically take effect if the new talks fail.

In Pristina, Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu criticized the Russian view, saying the province should not be held hostage to decisions that block its future. But the European Union envoy on Kosovo, Stefan Lehene, warned the area's leaders against unilaterally declaring independence, a move he said would lose them world support.

Kosovo has been under U.N. supervision since 1999, when NATO airstrikes drove out Serbian and Yugoslav forces and stopped their violent crackdown on ethnic Albanians.

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

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