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Kosovo: Ban Ki-moon to meet with top UN officials on province's future status

7 February 2007 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with his top lieutenants for Kosovo tomorrow for talks on the future status of the Albanian-majority Serbian province, which the UN has run since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid brutal ethnic fighting.

Mr. Ban will confer at UN Headquarters in New York with his Special Representative for Kosovo Joachim Rücker and his Special Envoy for the future status process Martti Ahtisaari, who last week unveiled his own proposals that would grant the province the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies.

An international civilian and military presence would supervise the new arrangements and help to ensure peace and stability.

An executive summary of Mr. Ahtisaari’s plan, presented today to the Serbian and ethnic Albanian Kosovo authorities on Friday, does not specifically mention independence, which Serbia rejects but which is the goal sought by many Albanians in the province, where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1.

Mr. Ahtisaari is discussing the plan with the parties before finalizing it and sending it to the Security Council. “I am willing to consider constructive amendments and I’m willing to integrate compromise solutions that the parties might reach,” he told reporters on Friday.

Announcing Mr. Rücker’s departure today from Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, for New York, UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Spokesman Neeraj Singh told a news briefing that the meeting would “discuss the way forward on the Kosovo status.”

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