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Belgrade submits proposals on Kosovo status to mediators

RIA Novosti

22/10/2007 19:15 BELGRADE, October 22 (RIA Novosti) - Serbia presented a 14-point plan for the final status of its breakaway province of Kosovo to international mediators on Monday.

The proposals on the predominantly Albanian province were put forward at a meeting between a Serb delegation and diplomats from Russia, the United States, and the European Union.

The plan reiterates Belgrade's offer to give Kosovo broad autonomy and self-government, but insists on respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity as core principles for any settlement, in accordance UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).

The Serb delegation said that any other line of negotiations will necessitate a review of Resolution 1244, which is binding on all parties concerned.

According to the Serb plan, Kosovo would be integrated as far as possible into regional cooperation structures.

The document says that a return to the situation that led up to the 1999 conflict is impossible, but that the status of Kosovo should be established on the basis of Resolution 1244.

Belgrade will not interfere in Kosovo's relations with international financial institutions, while Kosovo will have the right to control its own financial resources, including taxes and revenues, according to the proposals.

Kosovo's delegation said on Friday it was ready to continue negotiations on the province's final status with Belgrade, but not after the December 10 deadline set by the United Nations.

By that date, the Contact Group negotiating a solution on the predominantly Albanian province's status must submit a report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Belgrade and its ally Russia have spoken out against strict timeframes in the long-running dispute, but Kosovo Albanian leaders have said they will declare independence unilaterally if no deal is reached by December 10.

Serb officials and representatives of Kosovo, a UN protectorate since NATO's 1999 bombing campaign that ended a conflict between Serb troops and Albanian separatists, held bilateral talks in Brussels on October 14. A previous meeting took place in New York in September. Serbs and Kosovo Albanians will resume talks in Vienna on October 22.

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