Friday, September 02, 2005

Rupel Confident about Kosovo Status Talks

Bristol, 02 September (STA) - The EU expects that the international

community will launch talks on a final status of Kosovo this year,

Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel has said, acknowledging that the

negotiations will be "difficult."

The recommendation for the start of status talks for the restive province

must be made in a report that the international community is expected to

draw up in autumn. Although the report might be critical, Rupel said he

does not believe it could prevent status talks.

The talks are crucial: Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova is very ill and

there are tensions between the majority Albanian and minority Serbian

population, Rupel said on Friday after EU foreign ministers discussed the

conditions in Kosovo in Newport, the UK.

According to the minister, Kosovo was discussed in the framework of

debates on the Balkans, where it was stressed that the region's prospects

of joining the EU must be "developed." "The problems will not be resolved

without that," he added.

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