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BRUSSELS, April 25, 2007 -- Ambassadors and diplomats from the 15 countries on the United Nations Security Council are embarking on a trip to Kosovo to gather information before deciding whether to support a Western-backed plan for the eventual independence of the Serbian province.
The delegation left New York on April 24
and is due to meet today in Brussels with European Union officials and NATO commanders. The diplomats plan to then travel on to Serbia on April 26.
The mission was organized at the request of Russia, a veto-holding permanent member of the UN Security Council which has indicated it is reluctant to support an independent Kosovo.
Russia has called for more negotiations between the Serbian government, which opposes independence, and Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, who comprise 90 percent of the province's population.
United Nations envoy Martti Ahtisaari has recommended granting internationally-supervised independence to Kosovo. The province has been administered by the UN since June of 1999 when NATO ended an air campaign aimed at stopping a Serbian crackdown on ethnic Albanians.
(compiled from agency reports)
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