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U.S. envoy to discuss status of Kosovo in Moscow

RIA Novosti

05/02/2007 17:11 BELGRADE, February 5 (RIA Novosti) - Washington will continue contacts with Moscow over the status of Serbia's predominantly Albanian Kosovo province, a U.S. envoy said Monday following a meeting with Kosovo's president in the capital, Pristina.

Frank G. Wisner, U.S. special representative at the Kosovo status talks, said he would visit Moscow for the purpose later this week.

On Friday, UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari presented his plan for the UN-administered Kosovo province to Serbian and Kosovo authorities. Both sides interpreted the proposal as suggesting a division of the territories and foreseeing eventual independence for Kosovo.

While Kosovo Albanians welcomed the plan, Serbian authorities said Ahtisaari's proposals offered too much independence for Kosovo, including the right to independently join international organizations such as the UN, the European Union, and NATO, and to have its own emblem, flag and anthem. Serbian President Boris Tadic said Serbia would never recognize Kosovo's independence.

U.S. representative Wisner, conversely, said the UN plan was brilliant, and promised Kosovo full support in promoting the final status of the southern Serbian province.

He also urged Serbian and Kosovo leaders to attend consultations on the province's status, which will open in Vienna February 13.

Wisner will leave Pristina for the Serbian capital, Belgrade, where he will meet with the Serbian president Tuesday, the presidential press service said.

As a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council and a traditional ally of Belgrade, Russia has repeatedly said a decision on Kosovo should satisfy both Kosovar and Serbian authorities, and must be reached through negotiations. The U.S. has been pushing for a resolution of the issue through the UN Security Council, saying the region should be granted some form of independence.

Last November, thousands of Kosovar Albanians attacked UN headquarters in Pristina over a delayed decision on their demand for independence. The region has been a UN protectorate since NATO's military campaign against Belgrade to end a war between Serb forces and Albanian separatists in 1999.

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