PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - United States envoy for Kosovo said Wednesday his country wants talks on the future status of the disputed province to be closed this year.
Frank Wisner, who represents the U.S. in the team mediating the negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo on the future of the province, said he brought "the full support" of his country to "make certain that the negotiation that is underway is completed, and completed during the course of this year 2006."
He arrived in Kosovo a day after diplomats from the so-called Contact Group -- United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Russia -- urged for a resolution to the problem to be reached before the end of the year.
The diplomats also said they hoped Belgrade would "bear in mind that the settlement needs ... to be acceptable to the people of Kosovo" and that Pristina would recognize the importance of a multiethnic solution.
The Contact Group had already agreed on a set of guiding principles on the future of Kosovo, which set out that the province cannot return to its pre-1999 status, when it was under direct Serb rule, or be partitioned along Albanian and Serbian ethnic lines. It also ruled out any new union between Kosovo and other countries in the region, such as Albania.
A statement issued by the government after the meeting with Wisner, said the talks could be held around Feb. 20, in Vienna, the Austrian capital.
The negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo had originally been scheduled to start last Wednesday. But they were postponed until February following the death of Kosovo's President Ibrahim Rugova from lung cancer on Jan. 21.