French President Nicolas Sarkozy says France will support independence for Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province, adding he hopes it will happen at the right moment.

Mr. Sarkozy made the comment during a news conference in Nice Friday with visiting Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.

The French leader urged the province's leaders against making a hasty declaration of independence. He said he wants it to happen at the opportune time, when no one feels humiliated.

Mediators from the European Union, Russia and the United States are expected to present a final report on the status of the province to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon December 10.

President Sarkozy said he does not consider December 10 a firm deadline for independence.

Recent talks between Serbian authorities and representatives of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority have failed to produce an agreement on the status of the province.

Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since 1999, when NATO air strikes drove Serbian and Yugoslav security forces from the province.

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