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Ex-US Official Urges Kosovo Albanian Leaders to Attend Talks With Serbs - 2003-10-06

The former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, has urged Kosovo Albanian leaders to attend the planned talks with Serbian officials October 14.

Speaking in the Kosovo capital Pristina Monday, Mr. Holbrooke told provincial leaders it would be a grave mistake for them not to attend the talks and exert influence on the future of Kosovo. He suggested Belgrade would win a public relations victory if they do not appear.

Kosovo lawmakers last week delayed a key vote, which would have authorized the province's leaders to take part in talks with Serbian officials

They are set to resume consideration of the issue Thursday.

The talks in Vienna would be the first direct discussions between Kosovo Albanian leaders and Serbian officials since the end of the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990's.