PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro, Oct 13 (AFP) -
The United States wants talks on Kosovo's status to begin within 30 days, a senior US State Department official said on a visit to the troubled province Thursday.
"The situation has to change. The process has to begin in the next 30 days," said US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, adding neither Belgrade nor Pristina should be allowed to obstruct the progress of the negotiations.
"... Countries and peoples should talk together about the best way forward," Burns said.
"We don't believe that any of the parties of the negotiations will have a veto over the negotiations. We don't believe that this negotiating train can be stopped. It's got to move forward ... so no vetoes," he said.
Burns was speaking after he met with senior local officials including the president of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, in a diplomatic drive to prepare for the upcoming talks on the disputed province's future status.
Kosovo has been run by the United Nations and NATO since a 1999 bombing campaign by the military alliance forced Serbian forces to stop a crackdown against ethnic Albanian separatists.
"Our hope is that the two last months of 2005 and the first months of 2006 will be months of great change for Kosovo and a strong opportunity for the people of Kosovo to find their own future."