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No alternative to Kosovo independence - former EU commissioner

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The international community will sooner or later recognize Kosovo as an independent state because there is no alternative solution to the current crisis over its status, a former senior UN official said.
BELGRADE, August 14 (RIA Novosti) - The international community will sooner or later recognize Kosovo as an independent state because there is no alternative solution to the current crisis over its status, a former senior UN official said.

Chris Patten, a former EU Commissioner for External Relations and currently a deputy chairman of the International Crisis Group, a global political think tank, said in an interview with the Slovenian paper Delo on Monday, that both Belgrade and Pristina have shown no signs of compromise on the status of the former Yugoslavian province, and future Kosovo talks are doomed to failure.

The Albanian-dominated province has been a UN protectorate since NATO's 78-day bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia ended a conflict between Serb forces and Muslim Albanian separatists in 1999. The province has been striving for independence from Serbia ever since.

After a vote on a draft resolution on Kosovo by UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari to grant Kosovo internationally supervised independence was cancelled in the U.N. Security Council,

envoys from the so called troika of the United States, the European Union, and Russia launched a 120-day effort to end the stalemate over Kosovo.

The EU and the U.S. have backed Kosovo's demand for independence, while Russia, a traditional Serbian ally, has opposed the move, saying it would violate Serbia's territorial integrity and set a dangerous precedent for breakaway republics in general.

The international envoys ended Sunday a three-day visit to Belgrade and Pristina, where they met with the Serbian leadership, representatives of Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs, but failed to persuade ethnic Albanians and Serbia to agree on Kosovo's future.

Some Serbian and international politicians have raised the possibility of separating the Serbian-populated northern part of Kosovo from the rest of the province, but both official Belgrade and Pristina have categorically rejected the idea.

The two sides are to hold the next round of talks with international envoys August 30 in Vienna, Austria.

Chris Patten said efforts by international mediators would not bring any positive results because of the uncompromising stand taken by Serbia and Kosovo and would end up just like Ahtisaari's plan - "at the point of death."

The International Crisis Group, based in Brussels, is an independent and widely respected non-governmental organization whose mission is to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts through high-level advocacy.

Its board includes the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Thomas Pickering, the former German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, and the financier and philanthropist, George Soros.

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