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Italian FM Proposes Continued Talks on Kosovo Independence


Italian Foreign Minister Massimo d'Alema says that Serbia and leaders of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority should resume talks on the future status of the breakaway Serbian province, but only for a limited time.

Mr. D'Alema made the suggestion Friday during talks in Belgrade with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. The Italian official stressed that the final aim of the discussions should be Kosovo's independence.

Mr. Kostunica said his country will not negotiate independence that would breach the United Nations Charter and the Serbian constitution.

Serbian President Boris Tadic and Mr. D'Alema agreed that a unilateral recognition of Kosovo independence, without the approval of the U.N. Security Council, would be the worst possible solution.

In Pristina, visiting U.S. Kosovo envoy Frank Wisner noted there may be a delay on the decision. But he insisted that the final outcome will be independence.

Wisner urged ethnic Albanians to exercise patience as they wait for the U.N. Security Council vote on U.N. mediator Martti Ahtisaari's proposal on the future status of Kosovo. The province has been under U.N. administration since 1999 and some groups have been pushing for a unilateral declaration of independence.

Russia has backed Serbia and pledged to veto a resolution on independence.

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