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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Envoys Push for Kosovo Agreement

PRISTINA, Serbia -- Envoys from the United States, the European Union and Russia were working with a sense of urgency to help Serbia and Kosovo's independence-seeking ethnic Albanians find common ground on the province's future, one diplomat has said.

The diplomats -- known as the Troika -- are in the region to reopen talks after Russia threatened to block a Western-backed plan in the United Nations Security Council to grant Kosovo internationally supervised independence. Both sides have doubted that an agreement will be reached.

U.S. diplomat Frank Wisner said Saturday that he, the EU's Wolfgang Ischinger and Russia's Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko would not present the parties with proposals on Kosovo's future, but that they will mediate between the former foes. "We have a sense of urgency," Wisner said. "Peace is important and all of us are committed to it."

There is concern in the West and the region that Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders, increasingly frustrated by setbacks and delays, might unilaterally declare independence, throwing the Balkans into new turmoil.

"Kosovo's independence is the political will of Kosovo's people, and it is not negotiable," the province's leaders said in the letter. "Kosovo's territorial integrity is ... not negotiable."

Botsan-Kharchenko said the envoys would facilitate the talks to enable the UN Security Council to endorse a compromise solution.