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    Kosovo says no more status talks after Dec. 10 deadline

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    Kosovo's delegation is ready to continue negotiations on the province's final status with Belgrade, but not after the December 10 deadline set by the United Nations, a delegation spokesman said Friday.

    BELGRADE, October 19 (RIA Novosti) - Kosovo's delegation is ready to continue negotiations on the province's final status with Belgrade, but not after the December 10 deadline set by the United Nations, a delegation spokesman said Friday.

    By that date, the Contact Group negotiating a solution on the predominantly Albanian province's status - Russia, the United States, and the four largest European Union members - must submit a report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

    Belgrade and its ally Russia have spoken out against strict timeframes in the long-running dispute, but Kosovo Albanian leaders have said they will declare independence unilaterally if no deal is reached by December 10.

    Kosovo delegation spokesman Skender Hyseni dismissed as speculation media reports saying the troika of international mediators on Kosovo, which consists of three diplomats representing the Contact Group, had proposed a plan through which, over the next three years, the province will "retain a close relationship with Belgrade."

    "The Kosovo delegation has received no such proposals," he said.

    Serb officials and representatives of Kosovo, a UN protectorate since NATO's 1999 bombing campaign that ended a conflict between Serb troops and Albanian separatists, held bilateral talks in Brussels on October 14. A previous meeting took place in New York in September. Serbs and Kosovo Albanians will resume talks, mediated by the diplomatic troika, in Vienna on October 22.

    The 15-nation UN Security Council again failed earlier this month to agree on a plan of action if negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina produce no result by the set timeframe.

    The U.S. and some EU states have pushed for Kosovo's independence, while Russia has strongly opposed sovereignty for Kosovo, saying it would set a dangerous precedent, including for post-Soviet states. Serbia has offered broad autonomy for the province, but Kosovo insists on full sovereignty.

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