Thursday, May 18, 2006

German foreign minister: Kosovo must be a multiethnic democracy

BERLIN (AP) - Germany's foreign minister on Thursday urged Kosovo's Prime Minister Agim Ceku to work toward a swift clarification of the province's future status, underlining the need for it to be a multiethnic democracy.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged both Kosovo's ethnic Albanians and the Serbs to be "flexible and open for compromise" in the talks.

Steinmeier underlined that "the goal of the status talks remains the creation of a multiethnic, democratic Kosovo where all people can live in peace and security, regardless of their ethnicity," his ministry said in a statement.

Kosovo remains formally part of Serbia-Montenegro, but its ethnic Albanian majority wants independence, while Serbs living in the province demand that it remain part of Serbia.

The U.N. is conducting talks aimed at steering the two sides toward settling the disputed status of the province by the end of the year. Mediators are expected to call in July for direct talks on the status question.

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