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US Secretary of State: Kosovo Will be Independent One Way or Another

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Washington is fully committed to achieving independence for Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province, despite Russia's opposition.

Secretary Rice told reporters Thursday that Kosovo will get its independence "one way or another," without clarifying whether the United States is prepared to recognize Kosovo's independence unilaterally.

She spoke to reporters on the way to Lisbon for a meeting with the Quartet of Middle East negotiators.

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Friday to discuss the latest draft resolution on Kosovo's future status.

In Montenegro, the speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, Boris Gryzlov, told reporters that Russia will veto any U.N. resolution on Kosovo that is unacceptable to Serbia. He said Kosovo's independence would spark conflicts in different parts of the world.

The latest draft resolution on Kosovo, supported by the United States and the European Union, offers 120 days for further negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, giving them a chance to reach a mutual agreement.

State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, told VOA's Albanian Service that the U.S. believes the route to a negotiated settlement has been exhausted. But she said Washington has agreed to additional negotiations in response to Russia's concerns.

Serbia has rejected the latest revised draft, saying it contains a path to Kosovo's future independence. Kosovo's ethnic Albanians are determined to gain their own state.

Kosovo's leaders are meeting with Secretary Rice on Monday to discuss the diplomatic impasse over the province's status.