Europe Leaders to Stop Seeking Negotiated Solution to Kosovo

BRUSSELS -- EU leaders are expected to agree this week that efforts to reach a negotiated solution to the Kosovo problem are exhausted and offer to take responsibility for security and justice in the Serbian province.

EU negotiator Wolfgang Ischinger will brief European Union foreign ministers Monday on the results of four months of mediation efforts and urge them to help stabilize the Balkan territory by sending in police and justice officials soon.

Leaders of the 27-nation bloc are expected to declare in a statement at a summit on Friday that negotiations are over and that the future of both Serbia and Kosovo lies in the European Union, diplomats said.

They are also likely to confirm that they are willing to dispatch police and justice missions and appoint a high representative to oversee Kosovo if asked by the Kosovo government and the United Nations secretary-general.

"It is clear that the future of Serbia and Kosovo lies in the European Union. That's something that both sides agree on," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said in an interview with Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

The so-called Troika of EU, U.S. and Russian mediators told United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a report Friday that their mission had failed because neither side was willing to give way on the fundamental question of sovereignty over Kosovo. The Troika had been given a Dec. 10 deadline to complete its report.

"We were given 120 days, but if we had been given 1,200 days the outcome would have been the same," an aide quoted Ischinger as telling Solana.

n Some 1.1 million voters on Sunday chose among 10 candidates for the presidency of Republika Srpska -- one of the two ministates that makes up Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Most power in the ministate lies with the prime minister, Milorad Dodik. The president holds a largely ceremonial post but has the power to propose the candidate for prime minister.