VIENNA (AP)-Ethnic Albanian and Serbian officials agreed Tuesday on basic elements on how to protect Kosovo's cultural and religious sites, particularly in parts of the province dominated by ethnic Albanians.
"There are a number of conceptual differences, but there was a far-reaching agreement on the protection of religious sites," said Albert Rohan, a Austrian diplomat and a U.N.-appointed mediator for the talks.
He said both delegations agreed on the issue of "physical protection" of Serbian Orthodox religious sites in the province and on protection zones that would be guarded by international peacekeepers.
Serbs consider Kosovo to be the cradle of their civilization, and key Serbian religious and historical sites are located there - and are currently being guarded by NATO peacekeepers.
In March 2004, the holy sites were targeted in anti-Serb riots that left more than 30 medieval churches and monasteries damaged or destroyed. That year, UNESCO designated the Visoki Decani monastery - the largest and the best preserved medieval monastery in the province - a World Heritage site. [ 23-05-06 1634GMT ]