Serbia's prime minister has lashed out at the United States, accusing it of blocking efforts for a compromise solution on the future of Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province.
In a statement Tuesday, Vojislav Kostunica said the United States has a goal of "unilaterally recognizing" Kosovo's independence, in order to prevent Albanians there from accepting a compromise. He also repeated that Serbia will never accept Kosovo independence.
In Washington, the State Department dismissed Mr. Kostunica's remarks. A spokesman told reporters that U.S. envoys are working through U.S. Ambassador Frank Wisner to help bring both sides together.
Kosovo's future status is being debated in internationally sponsored talks. Those negotiations remain deadlocked, with Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority insisting on full independence and Serbia demanding at least some control over its troubled province.
The Bush administration says that supervised independence, as proposed in a United Nations plan, is the best outcome for Kosovo and the Balkans.
The United Nations has administered Kosovo since 1999, when NATO air strikes drove Serbian and Yugoslav security forces from the province.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.