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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

G8 Deadlocked Over Kosovo's Future

ReutersU.S. President George W. Bush laughing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Putin during a photo call Friday.
HEILIGENDAMM, Germany -- Major powers at the G8 summit were deadlocked Friday over the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo, with Russia resisting the terms of a French plan to delay a UN vote on its independence.

"For the time being, the necessary progress has not been made," French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters after talks with U.S. President George W. Bush on the last day of the Group of Eight summit in Heiligendamm, Germany.

Russia is opposing Western efforts to adopt a UN resolution that would clear the way for independence, and Sarkozy on Thursday suggested a six-month delay in any vote to find more time for a deal.

Sarkozy said Russia, in overnight talks among G8 leaders' advisers, had not agreed to a delay in return for recognizing "the unavoidable prospect" of independence for Kosovo.

Asked whether there was still a threat of a Russian veto over Kosovo, he said: "I think one could say it like that."

A source in the Russian delegation said there was "a general understanding" among G8 leaders that there was "no need to hurry" with a United Nations vote on Kosovo. Sarkozy in particular shared that understanding, the source said.

Russia has traditionally been a strong ally of Serbia, whose government refuses to brook independence for Kosovo. The United States and the European Union believe Kosovo's independence is an inevitability that Russia and Serbia will have to accept.

Sarkozy said Thursday that, under his proposal, Serbia and Kosovo would be pressured into negotiating a "better status" than that currently proposed, giving the two sides six months to reach agreement. UN mediator Martti Ahtisaari's plan sets out the framework of a Kosovo state.