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US Says Security Council to Consider Kosovo Resolution Thursday

The United States says the U.N. Security Council will meet Thursday for what might be its final effort to approve a resolution on the future status of Kosovo. Victoria Cavaliere reports from VOA's New York bureau that U.S. diplomats say the future of the resolution hinges on Russia, which has vowed to veto any measure that grants Kosovo independence from Serbia.

Under the draft U.N resolution formally introduced late Tuesday, Kosovo and Serbia would resume negotiations for 120 days to try to hammer out a compromise on the province's final status. After that time, the United Nations would hand over the administration of the province to the European Union.

Serbia rejects independence for Kosovo, which has been administered by the United Nations since 1999 when NATO bombers drove out Serb forces that killed an estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians during a two-year war. Instead, Belgrade has said it would give special autonomy to Kosovo.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, says the current draft resolution has wide support in the Security Council - with one hold-out, Russia.

"It is either the Council deals with this, with Russia playing a constructive role, taking a step in the right direction. Or Russia, will be responsible for pushing this issue outside the council," he said.

Russia has veto power in the U.N. Security Council, and has vowed to vote down any resolution opposed by Serbia, a Moscow ally.

On Tuesday, the European Union said it could withdraw the issue of Kosovo's final status from the U.N. Security Council if Moscow does not accept a resolution soon.

Council members have expressed concern that, without a U.N. resolution, Kosovo would declare independence unilaterally.