PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders met Friday to begin work on a negotiating strategy for the start of talks next month that they hope will lead the disputed province to independence from Serbia.
The meeting ended, however, with no apparent agreement on how they would approach the talks.
The team led by Kosovo's ailing president, Ibrahim Rugova, includes the province's prime minister, two opposition leaders and the head of the legislative assembly.
The five leaders hold widely differing views on many issues and have clashed in the past over the direction the negotiating team should take.
Friday's meeting ended with no announcement of a joint position to take into the talks.
One of the participants, opposition politician Veton Surroi, said more work was needed and offered a hint that the meeting included some heated exchanges.
"I hope that in our next meeting we will have more creativity and understanding for each other's ideas and more tolerance," Surroi said.
Western diplomats and U.N. officials have expressed frustration that the bickering ethnic Albanian leaders have lagged behind in preparations for the talks.
The negotiating team met for the first time three weeks ago and said it will push for independence in the long-awaited talks to settle the province's final status.
The launch of negotiations on Kosovo's future was approved this week by the U.N. Security Council. They are expected to get underway in November, as soon as an envoy is appointed to lead the process.
The negotiations are sure to be tough. Kosovo, which has been under U.N. administration for the past six years, has formally remained part of Serbia-Montenegro, the union that replaced Yugoslavia.
Ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's 2 million people, want nothing short of full independence. They argue that Serbia has lost the right to govern the province following the war that left an estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians dead.
Serb leaders, however, insist on keeping at least some formal control over the troubled province -- a place many Serbs consider the heart of their nation.
The United Nations has administered Kosovo since NATO's 1999 air war against Yugoslavia. The NATO bombardment forced former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to end a crackdown on rebel ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and relinquish Serbia's control over the province.