HELSINKI, Oct 3 (Reuters) - A possible parliamentary election in Serbia in December could mean a delay in the submission of a proposal to settle the status of Kosovo, U.N.-appointed mediator Martti Ahtisaari said on Tuesday.
Ahtisaari, expected to submit a proposal by November on the future of the U.N.-administered province, said his plan might have to wait until after a Serbian election if one is called for December.
"If the election date will be at the end of this year, it might be that in the Contact Group there is a will to reconsider the timetable and maybe it will mean that my proposal, which is under preparation, would be presented only after the elections," he told Finnish public broadcaster YLE television.
A key party in Serbia's minority coalition resigned its cabinet posts on Sunday in a moved aimed at ensuring an early election.
Ahtisaari declined to comment on the substance of his proposal for Kosovo, which the United Nations could then impose.
But diplomats widely expect the former Finnish president to suggest a form of independence for the territory of 2 million people -- 90 percent of whom are Albanians.
That would set up a showdown with Belgrade seven years after NATO wrested control of the province from Serbia to stop what it said was becoming a bloodbath.
The United States said last week Kosovo was unstable and that its future must be resolved this year. Its stance reflects concern in the West that delaying a decision risks fresh violence, a fear underlined by attacks on Kosovo's remaining Serbs.
Russia, Serbia's traditional ally in the U.N. Security Council, has cautioned against "artificial deadlines" and insists Serbia and Kosovo's Albanians be given time to reach a negotiated settlement in talks that began in February.
The six-member Contact Group overseeing Balkan diplomacy comprises the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Italy.