Pristina, Kosovo; April 4, 1997 (RFE/RL) -- A delegation of ethnic Albanians from the troubled Serbian province of Kosovo left today for talks in New York on the province's future.
The informal talks between Serbian and ethnic Albanian representatives open Monday. But Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist party says it will not send a representative. The party says Kosovo's problems are solely Serbia's internal affair.
Before leaving for New York, Ibraham Rugova, political leader of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority, urged the United States to pressure Serbia to resolve the crisis in the province.
Milosevic revoked Kosovo's broad autonomy in 1989 and has ruled the province with heavy military and police power. Ethnic Albanians have responded by demanding independence and staging a boycott of Serbia's institutions, such as health and education systems. Ethnic tensions have simmered in Kosovo for years.