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UN Kosovo Administrator: Talks on Area's Future Could End in Stalemate


The United Nations administrator of Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province says the international community should be ready to deal with a possible stalemate in talks on the area's future.

Administrator Joachim Ruecker told international diplomats in Vienna that he still hopes for agreement in talks between Serbia and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority. But he urged the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to consider options if there is no deal.

Both sides in the Kosovo talks have rejected a proposal by European Union mediator Wolfgang Ischinger that would leave the province neither independent nor part of Serbia.

Ischinger told VOA Albanian and Serbian Services Tuesday his proposal would have let both sides normalize relations on such issues as the economy, trade and crime prevention without an imminent decision on Kosovo's independence.

But Kosovo Albanians insist on independence, a demand Serbia strongly rejects.

In his Vienna statement, Ruecker also expressed concern that Serbian officials are exercising undue pressure on Kosovo's Serb minority to boycott Saturday's provincial elections. He said he wrote Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica about his concerns, but received no reply.

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

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