Thursday, September 27, 2007

Kosovo 2007

Crucial talks on Kosovo's future
By Kim Ghattas
BBC News, New York

The leaders of Serbia and its breakaway province of Kosovo are preparing to hold their first face-to-face talks at the United Nations in New York.

Foreign ministers of the six major powers involved in negotiating the ongoing dispute between the two sides have urged them to seek common ground.

Serbia has rejected a UN plan to grant Kosovo supervised independence.

The UN has administered Kosovo since a Nato bombing campaign forced out Serbian troops in 1999.

Ahead of Friday's historic talks, Serbian President Boris Tadic warned the UN General Assembly in New York of unforeseeable consequences if Kosovo declared independence unilaterally.


He clearly reaffirmed his country's position that an independent Kosovo would be unacceptable.

And he warned that if there was a one-sided recognition of that independence, it would set a precedent, with separatist movements everywhere seizing on it.

After a meeting of the so-called Contact Group - made up of the US, Britain, Russia, France, Germany and Italy - UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband urged Belgrade and Pristina to show a "constructive spirit".

Kosovo's quest for independence has the backing of the US and most of the EU, although countries like Spain fear the impact it would have on separatists like Spain's Basque movement.

Serbia's ally at the UN Security Council, Russia, also opposes independence for the province.

The Serbs say they plan to propose a comprehensive blueprint for autonomy and hinted they might give up control over Kosovo's borders.

But Kosovo has made clear it will accept nothing short of independence under UN supervision at the end of the negotiating process on 10 December.

With both sides sticking to their positions, it is unlikely the negotiations in New York will lead to any breakthrough at this stage.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/09/28 03:52:39 GMT


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