Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Final Kosovo status requires international consensus: German FM

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005 All reproduction and presentation rights reserved.

PRISTINA, April 6 (AFP) -

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Wednesday the future political status of the UN-run province of Kosovo should be agreed within international community.

"The final Kosovo status requires international consensus," Fischer said during a one-day visit to the province.

Talks on the final status of Kosovo, a Serb province which has been administered by the United Nations since the end of 1998-99 conflict, may start in September if the international community finds that the province has met democratic standards.

"It is necessary to fulfill the standards in order to move Kosovo toward Europe. Standards have a crucial role for the determination of Kosovo's future status," Fischer said.

Ethnic Albanians want Kosovo to become an independent state, an option that Belgrade absolutely rejects.

Fischer, who was on a two-day tour of the region, met top international and local authorities in the capital Pristina.

He also visited 3,200 German troops serving in a peacekeeping mission in the province.

The German contingent is biggest in 18,000-strong NATO-led international force deployed in Kosovo after the war.

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