Serbia's prime minister has urged new United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to protect his country's territorial integrity and make sure its Kosovo province does not gain independence.

Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica issued his call in a letter to Mr. Ban. The Serbian leader termed it unacceptable and impossible to redraw his country's internationally recognized borders against its will and to create what he termed another Albanian state on 15 percent of Serbia's territory.

U.N.-mediated talks on Kosovo between representatives of the province's ethnic Albanian majority and the Belgrade government opened last February, but little progress is reported.

The Albanians want independence, while Belgrade insists on maintaining some control over the area.

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

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