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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Ready to Move Kosovo from UN

BRUSSELS -- The European Union plans to withdraw the issue of Kosovo's final status from the United Nations Security Council within a few days if Russia does not accept a resolution, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Tuesday.

Solana said shuttle diplomacy between Belgrade and Pristina on supervised independence for the breakaway Serbian province would then be held under the authority of the so-called Contact Group on Kosovo, where Moscow does not hold a veto.

Asked whether UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari would remain the mediator, he said: "I cannot answer that formally now but I think it will probably be under the aegis of the Contact Group."

A meeting of top diplomats from the the Contact Group -- consisting of the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Russia -- is expected to take place on July 25 in Berlin.

At the United Nations, Russia gave a definitive "no" on Monday to a European-U.S. draft resolution on Kosovo that would end a UN presence and put European representatives in charge of the Serbian province.

Moscow's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said the text was a stealth move toward independence, despite its call for 120 days of further talks between Belgrade and Pristina. He said the resolution's chances of adoption were "zero."

"Almost the entire text and maybe particularly the annexes are permeated with the concept of the independence of Kosovo," Churkin said.

France's UN ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, speaking on behalf of the sponsors, told reporters that it was difficult to guess what to do after four months of negotiations should the resolution be adopted. He said the sponsors would consult with their capitals.

If Kosovo and Serbia were to reach an agreement, the council could adopt a resolution endorsing it. If they did not, members would have to review what to do next. "We cannot say today. We do not know," de la Sabliere said.

In the meantime, he said, those who had influence on either party "had to push" for a solution.

But Churkin said a review was not good enough and that the council would have to make a decision at the end of any negotiating period, not just discuss the issue.

Kosovo, where 90 percent of the 2 million people are ethnic Albanians, has been run by the United Nations since 1999, when NATO bombs forced out Serbian troops that were killing and expelling Albanians in a two-year war with guerrillas.