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    Serbia says U.S. is preventing Kosovo from accepting compromise

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    Serbia's prime minister accused the United States on Tuesday of doing everything in its power to stop Kosovo Albanians from accepting a compromise on the breakaway province's status.

    BELGRADE, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - Serbia's prime minister accused the United States on Tuesday of doing everything in its power to stop Kosovo Albanians from accepting a compromise on the breakaway province's status.

    "Daily statements made by U.S. officials that after December 10 Washington will recognize Kosovo's independence based on [UN special envoy Martti] Ahtisaari's plan are aimed at preventing Kosovo Albanians from making a compromise decision," Vojislav Kostunica said.

    Kosovo, 90% populated by ethnic Albanians, has been a UN protectorate since NATO's 1999 bombing campaign that ended a conflict between Serb troops and Albanian separatists. Serbia has offered broad autonomy for the province, but Kosovo has so far insisted on full sovereignty.

    Last Wednesday, the 15-nation UN Security Council once again failed to agree on a possible plan of action if negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina produce no result by December 10.

    Kosovo-Serbia negotiations are mediated by Russia, the four largest European Union countries, and the United States. In spring, Russia, a traditional ally of Belgrade and also a UN Security Council permanent member, vetoed a draft resolution by Ahtisaari, which proposed internationally supervised independence for the breakaway region.

    Following talks last Wednesday Joachim Ruecker, the UN mission chief in Kosovo, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad, reaffirmed that December 10 was a final date to resolve the issue, and that any further delays would upset stability in the region. Kosovo Albanians have threatened to proclaim independence unilaterally if the talks fail.

    Both the U.S. and the EU back Kosovo's independence, while Russia has strongly opposed sovereignty for Kosovo, saying it would set a dangerous precedent.

    The Serbian premier said that the U.S. is pursuing a policy of "brutal force, and speaks openly for the separation of Serbia," and that Ahtisaari's plan has an additional document, which literally states that "NATO is the final instance of power in Kosovo."

    "Serbia will never allow and recognize the formation of such an institution on its territory. We will continue to state that Kosovo cannot be NATO's trophy, and while the UN Charter is still valid the borders of Serbia will remain unchanged," he said.

    Russia's UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, said last week he did not consider the December 10 deadline set for Belgrade-Pristina talks to be a final date. On that day the six mediating countries, known as the Contact Group, are to report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the results of 120-day negotiations.

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