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France Tells Serbia it Must Back Kosovo Independence to Gain EU Entry


French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has told Serbia it must find an agreement on the future of Kosovo before it can join the European Union.

During a visit to Belgrade Thursday, Kouchner said it is not possible for Serbia to join the EU as long as there are ethnic conflicts and religious disputes.

Britain, France, and the United States have revised the text of a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for supervised independence for Kosovo, in an effort to resolve concerns that Russia has raised.

The new draft drops automatic independence for Kosovo at the end of a four-month period of period of further talks between the Serbs and Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian leaders.

Russia, a long-time Serbian ally, joins Belgrade in strongly opposing independence for the Serbian province.

Russia has threatened to veto the U.N. resolution if, in Moscow's view, it does not satisfy both the Serbs and Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian majority.

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

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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