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Serbian Minister: UN's Ban Wrong on Consequences of Kosovo's Independence

Serbia's Minister for Kosovo says U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was wrong when he said the prolonged deadlock over the future of Serbia's breakaway province could create instability in the region.

Slobodan Samardzic told Serbia's Tanjug news agency that Kosovo independence would actually cause instability because it would send a signal to separatist movements everywhere to pursue similar goals.

On Monday, in a report to Security Council members, Mr. Ban said delaying a decision on the future status of Kosovo could lead to events on the ground that would put U.N. achievements in the area at risk.

The Security Council has not been unified on the future status of Kosovo.

The province's ethnic Albanian majority wants independence from Serbia. Belgrade has offered broad autonomy to the province with many elements of statehood, but insists on retaining sovereignty over the territory.

Samardzic said the U.N. secretary-general should pay more attention to international law and less to what he called the separatist aspirations of militant members of ethnic minorities.

Russia has backed Serbia and has threatened to veto any resolution on Kosovo independence. The United States and many European countries have indicated readiness to recognize independence.

Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since 1999, when NATO airstrikes halted Belgrade's deadly crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.