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Kosovo's UN Chief Says Status Talks To Solve Balkan 'Puzzle'

UN Kosovo administrator Jessen-Petersen (file photo) (epa) 21 November 2005 -- Kosovo's UN administrator calls talks on the disputed province's future "the last piece" in solving the Balkan "puzzle."

Soren Jessen-Petersen made his remarks today in Pristina hours ahead of the scheduled arrival of United Nations envoy Martti Ahtisaari for preparatory talks on the future political status of the territory.

The United Nations has tasked Ahtisaari, a former Finnish president, with mediating direct negotiations between Serbs and Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanians.

Ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's population, seek the territory's independence. Serbs strongly oppose this outcome.

The UN has run Kosovo since 1999, when Serbia lost control of the province after a NATO bombing campaign.