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Ambassador Wisner: UN Talks on Kosovo Proceeding Rapidly

The top U.S. diplomat involved in negotiations on the final status of Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province says United Nations discussions of the issue are proceeding rapidly.

Ambassador Frank Wisner told VOA Albanian Service technical discussions on the U.N. resolution presented by France earlier this month are underway and private ones are expected soon. He says the discussions involve a review of the language of the draft in search of phraseology that could lead to acceptance of proposals by U.N. Kosovo envoy Martti Ahtisaari. The ambassador said the United States will press hard for acceptance of the envoy's plan for supervised independence of Kosovo.

Russia has objected on grounds that giving Kosovo independence would violate the territorial integrity of Serbia, a U.N. member state. It also insists that any solution be acceptable not only to the province's ethnic Albanian majority but also to Serbia.

Serbian authorities fiercely oppose Kosovo's independence. They note the area's importance in Serbia's history and insist it must remain part of their country.

Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since 1999, when NATO airstrikes drove out Yugoslav and Serbian forces, who had waged a violent campaign against the area's ethnic Albanians.