Western Allies Reaffirm Support For UN Kosovo Plan

The NATO allies have restated their support for the United Nations plan on the future of Serbia's Kosovo province, but have cautioned ethnic Albanians there against taking unilateral action.

A NATO spokesman, James Appathurai, Friday told reporters that further delays of indecision on Kosovo could increase tension in the region. He spoke in Oslo as NATO foreign ministers met in the Norwegian capital.

Russia continues to oppose the plan, which envisions supervised independence for the province. It has indicated a possible veto.

In Pristina, ambassadors of the 15 U.N. Security Council countries met with Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu, a leader of the province's ethnic Albanian majority.

Mr. Sejdiu told the delegation that independence, with rights of minorities fully protected, is the only solution for Kosovo. He said that after this important mission, the time has come to end the process and make a decision.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica told the delegation in Belgrade Thursday his country is ready to give Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority "supervised autonomy" instead of the "supervised independence" in the U.N. plan.

Several thousand displaced ethnic Serbs and members of other minorities gathered at Kosovo's administrative border (Rudnice-Jarinja) to protest the U.N. plan and demand a return to their homes.

About 200,000 ethnic Serbs and members of other non-Albanian minorities fled Kosovo after NATO airstrikes drove Serbian security forces from the embattled province in 1999. Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since then.

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


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