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Dec 10, 2007 12:31 EEST
December 10 (SeeNews) - EU leaders will meet on Friday to discuss the future status of independence-seeking Kosovo after 120 extra days of bilateral talks failed to bridge the gap between Serbs and ethnic Albanians, the agenda of the EU Council indicated.
In a report submitted on Friday to the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the so called Troika of international mediators - the EU, the U.S. and Russia - said that the four months of additional talks had found no compromise on whether the U.N. run Serbian province should be independent or self-ruled.
Since 1999, when NATO bombing forced ex-Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic to halt a crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians which Western powers said was leading to the repression of civilians, Kosovo has been under U.N. rule.
The ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo insists on independence. Its leaders repeatedly say they are ready to unilateral declare independence, while Serbia says it will not give the province anything more than broad autonomy.
On Monday the EU envoy in the Troika, Wolfgang Ischinger, is to brief the EU Foreign Ministers on the results of the four months of talks.
Kosovo’s question will come now for second time before the U.N. Security Council, as the first session is scheduled for December 19. But the Security Council remains divided over what should come next with Kosovo, as Russia, a long-time Serbian ally, continues to insist that an independent Kosovo will unleash chaos on the fragile Balkans.
Between April and July this year there were several discussions in the Security Council regarding Kosovo status, but Russia threatened it will veto any vote on Kosovo’s independence. In July the West and the EU shifted Kosovo’s question into the hands of the Contact Group, the six nations represented in UNMIK, The U.N. Mission in Kosovo where Russia is also a member but does not have a veto right.
The Security Council discussed a plan prepared by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari after 13 months of talks between Belgrade and Pristina. Ahtisaari’s status package envisages Kosovo having its own constitution and defines some key elements to be included in it. Kosovo is a multi-ethnic society, has two official languages Serbian and Albanian, but does not have an official religion. Kosovo will have its own, distinct, flag, seal and anthem, which must reflect its multi-ethnic character. It will have no territorial claims against and will not seek union with another state or part of any state. Kosovo can apply for membership of international financial institutions and enter into contractual arrangements and other international agreements.
The West and the U.S. continue to back Ahtisaari’s plan. The U.S. representative in the Troika, Frank Wisner, said last week “the long standing American view is implementing Ahtisaari’s plan.”
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