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U.S. Wants Kosovo Talks To Start In One Month

Kosovar President Rugova (file photo) Prishtina, 13 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A senior U.S. official says Washington wants talks on Kosovo's status to begin within 30 days.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns was speaking in Kosovo's provincial capital, Prishtina, today as the disputed province prepares for talks on its future status.

Burns also said Belgrade and Prishtina should not be allowed to obstruct the progress of the negotiations. He said vetoes will not be allowed andt what he called "the negotiating train" can't be stopped.

Burns was speaking after meeting with senior local officials, including Kosovar President Ibrahim Rugova, and UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) head Soren Jessen-Petersen. Burns said these are important times for the Serbian province: "This is going to be an important year for Kosovo. It's a year where Kosovo makes its choice to define its future, and the United States will be very actively engaged in this process."

Burns said the United States will appoint a special envoy to participate in the talks. Kosovo is a Serbian province under UN administration that is overwhelmingly populated by ethnic Albanians.

(RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service, AFP)

For more news about events in Kosovo and Serbia and Montenegro, see RFE/RL's webpage News and Features on Serbia and Montenegro