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Rehn: EU to Postpone Decision on Kosovo Until Early 2008


A top European Union official says a decision on the future status of Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province will come only in the first half of next year.

EU Expansion Commissioner Olli Rehn Thursday told Finnish daily, Uutispaiva Demari that a solution must be found because the current situation is not sustainable. He said the process will take time.

Kosovo has been under United Nations administration since 1999. Its ethnic Albanian leaders say they plan to announce independence "soon." Serbian leaders are making efforts to block such a move.

Top EU leaders meet in Brussels Friday to review the issue following the failure of EU, Russian and U.S. mediation efforts earlier this month.

The U.N. Security Council will discuss Kosovo December 19.

UN Council member Russia Wednesday again called for continued Serbian-Kosovo Albanian talks on the issue until the sides reach consensus. Russia says it will never endorse any solution that is not acceptable to Serbia.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Tuesday said that the latest round of talks proved that the two sides cannot reach a consensus and that a solution cannot be put off. She repeated her earlier stance that Kosovo and Serbia will never be one again.

EU member states are also divided on Kosovo's future status. Britain, Germany, France have supported Kosovo's independence. Greece, Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus and Romania have expressed reservations.

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

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