21:44 GMT +320 July 2017
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    Kosovo Albanians ready for talks, adamant on independence

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    Kosovo leaders said Monday they would take part in further talks on the future of the Albanian-dominated Serbian province, but added renouncing independence was "out of the question."

    BELGRADE, July 30 (RIA Novosti) - Kosovo leaders said Monday they would take part in further talks on the future of the Albanian-dominated Serbian province, but added renouncing independence was "out of the question."

    "New talks are the last attempt to win support for Kosovo's independence," Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu said, as quoted by Serbian news agencies. "This will be the last delay, and we will not accept any new deadlines. We are declaring that Kosovo's independence is out of the question."

    A UN plan to grant sovereignty to Kosovo, regardless of Serbia's objections, has been removed from UN Security Council agenda under pressure from veto-wielding Russia, Serbia's long-standing ally.

    The Contact Group, comprised of diplomats from the U.S., Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Russia, has agreed on 120 days of additional talks between Belgrade and Pristina.

    Serbia's education minister said Monday talks should focus on "ethnic Albanians' position in the Serbian region," rather than its independence.

    "There is no Kosovo problem, as this province in an integral part of Serbia. There is only one unresolved issue, i.e. autonomy for Albanians," Slobodan Vuksanovic said.

    "To Serbia, it is unacceptable that the Albanian minority should form a separate state on our territory. One Albania is enough for Europe," he said.

    Formally a part of Serbia and its historical heart, Kosovo has been a U.N. protectorate since 1999, when NATO air strikes ousted Serbian troops over the alleged ethnic cleansing of Albanian separatists.

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