Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Albania says Serbian constitution's claim on Kosovo unacceptable

TIRANA, Albania (AP) - Albania said Tuesday that the new Serbian constitution's claim over Kosovo is unacceptable.

A Foreign Ministry statement said the charter, approved in a weekend referendum, was unhelpful at a time when international talks are under way to determine Kosovo's final status.

Since the end of the war between Serb military forces and separatists in the southern province in 1999, the predominantly ethnic Albanian territory has been run by a U.N. administration and patrolled by NATO peacekeepers.

The new Serbian constitution refers to Kosovo as an integral part of the nation.

"That was a unilateral and unproductive act," the ministry statement said.

Ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's population, are demanding independence, while Serbia wants to keep at least some control over the province.

The U.N.-mediated negotiations on its future are scheduled to finish by the end of the year, but little progress has been made in talks between the two sides.

Albania has been the strongest supporter of Kosovo's independence, though it says it has no territorial claims over the territory.

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