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Serbians, Ethnic Albanians Conclude Talks With Mediators on Kosovo


International mediators say Serbian and ethnic Albanian officials have pledged to refrain from statements that could jeopardize negotiations on the future status of Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province

European Union envoy Wolfgang Ischinger announced the development after Thursday talks in Vienna. He said both sides agreed not to make provocative acts or statements during the negotiation process.

But Kosovo's Prime Minister Agim Ceku told the Associated Press the province's Albanians will act unilaterally if the talks end in December without an international consensus granting the province independence.

In Belgrade, his Serbian counterpart Vojislav Kostunica called on the international community to reject any unilateral declaration.

The troika of envoys from the United States, European Union and Russia said further talks with the two sides will take place next month on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The series of meetings is set to end December 10. The envoys, Frank Wisner of the United States, EU delegate Wolfgang Ischinger and Russia's Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, met with Serbian and ethnic Albanian negotiating teams separately, but direct talks are envisioned in the future.

Kosovo has been under U.N. administration for eight years and its majority ethnic population wants an independent state. Serbia has offered a broad autonomy to its breakaway province, but rejects independence.

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

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