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Kosovo PM Urges European Union to Sidestep UN on Independence


Kosovo's Prime Minister Agim Ceku has urged the European Union to sidestep the United Nations if the Security Council fails to act on a resolution granting the breakaway Serbian province independence.

The Kosovo leader spoke to reporters Wednesday after meeting in Brussels with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. The EU official said he remains committed to seeking U.N. action.

Western countries have proposed a new draft resolution on the issue that would allow 120 days for additional talks between Serbian officials and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders on the contested province. But if the talks fail to produce an agreement, the draft does not envision automatic independence for Kosovo.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica Wednesday rejected the new draft reparation for Kosovo's independence. He said Kosovo will never be independent, despite contrary statements by U.S. officials.

Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since 1999, after NATO airstrikes halted a Serbian crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.

U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari's proposal for the final status of Kosovo, presented earlier this year, recommends internationally supervised independence. Serbia, backed by Russia, has rejected the plan.

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

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