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Serbian PM: Blocking Ahtisaari's Plan is His Country's Foremost National Goal


Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica says that his nation's foremost goal is to block the United Nations-mediated plan on the future status of the country's breakaway Kosovo province.

Mr. Kostunica criticized the United States, the European Union and NATO for supporting the U.N. envoy's proposal for what he called seizing 15 percent of Serbia's territory.

He added that NATO called itself "an angel of mercy" when it launched airstrikes on Serbia during the 1999 Kosovo crisis. He said the alliance is now calling itself Serbia's friend as it seeks to take away a significant part of its territory.

U.N. mediator Martti Ahtisaari's plan proposes that the largely ethnic-Albanian inhabited province gain supervised independence.

President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the Kosovo issue by telephone Wednesday. Russia has consistently opposed a Kosovo solution without agreement on the issue from both sides.

Meanwhile, diplomats of the six-nation Contact Group on Kosovo (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States) are meeting in London to review the proposal before it is formally presented to the U.N. Security Council.

Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since 1999 after NATO airstrikes halted Belgrade's deadly crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in the province.

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