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US, Europe to Present New UN Resolution on Kosovo

The United States and its European allies say they will present the United Nations Security Council with a new draft resolution this week on the future status of the breakaway Serbian territory of Kosovo. Victoria Cavaliere reports from VOA's United Nations bureau Russia has threatened to veto any measure that grants independence to Kosovo.

Last week, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that progress in stabilizing Kosovo could be reversed if its final status is not resolved soon.

Kosovo is a province of Serbia, but has been under U.N. administration since 1999 when NATO bombers drove out Serb forces, which had killed an estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians during a two-year war.

A U.N. plan sponsored by Britain, France and the United States recommends independence for Kosovo, but Belgrade has rejected the option. Last month, the U.S. and its European allies suggested giving Serbia and Kosovo a four month "cooling off" period to allow the two sides more time to talk.

The U.N. Security Council discussed the issue behind closed doors Monday. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, said a final U.N. decision regarding Kosovo's independence should come soon.

"What we heard today was that while progress is being made, the current situation is not sustainable," said Zalmay Khalilzad. "There is need for a solution on the final status that the people of Kosovo are demanding. We will work with our colleagues to get a resolution presented this week, and within a week there has to be a decision."

Most of Kosovo's two million Albanians are demanding independence, but Serbia and its ally, Russia, are opposed. Khalilzad said he hopes to see a compromise on the part of Russia.

"I think the time has come for Russia to take a step in the right direction on this issue," he said. "Not dealing with this issue can worsen the situation."

Serbia rejects independence for Kosovo, whose population is 90 percent ethnic Albanian.