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Mediators Confirm Deadlock on Kosovo Status


International mediators have declared a deadlock in negotiations on the future of Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province.

In a report submitted Friday to the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia said four months of negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority have failed.

The mediators said neither side would yield on the question of sovereignty over Kosovo: Ethnic Albanian leaders want nothing short of full independence, and the Serbian government offers no more than broad autonomy.

Speaking Friday at a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said a decision on the status of Kosovo cannot be put off. She called for commitment to the principle of supervised independence for Kosovo, as embodied in a U.N.-mediated plan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has urged Western leaders not to declare that Kosovo's independence is inevitable, and to give the two sides a chance for genuine negotiations.

In their report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the U.S. EU and Russia said 120 days of talks on the status of Kosovo did not break the impasse. However, the mediators said, the two sides engaged in direct dialogue for the first time in years, and agreed to refrain from violence.

The Kosovo situation is scheduled for discussion by the U.N. Security Council on December 19.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.