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UN Chief: Delay on Kosovo Could Have Negative Consequences


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says further delay in efforts to determine the final status of Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province could have negative consequences for the entire region.

Mr. Ban said Tuesday he hopes that the U.N. Security Council will agree on a draft resolution, which allows for 120 days of consultations to overcome the differences between Russia and the West. Russia says it will veto any solution on Kosovo that is not acceptable to Serbia.

The U.N. chief spoke to reporters after meeting in Brussels with Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu.

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana says the 27-nation bloc supports an initiative for a new round of talks between Sebian officials and Kosovo ethnic Albanian leaders on the future of the province. He says the talks could last up to six months, but not indefinitely.

The U.N. and EU leaders warned Kosovo Albanians against any unilateral declaration of independence.

Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku told reporters in the provincial capital, Pristina, that resuming the talks would be pointless because Russia has blocked Kosovo's path to independence through the U.N. He called for a new and quick resolution on Kosovo.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, told reporters Monday that the decision on Kosovo cannot be delayed much longer. He pledged to introduce a Security Council resolution on the issue.

Earlier Monday, a U.S. State Department spokesman said Washington is willing to accept a delay of months if it can lead to stronger support for Kosovo's independence.

Serbia's province has been under U.N. administration since 1999, after NATO air strikes halted Belgrade's crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.

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

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