Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Tells U.S. to Ease Kosovo Talk

BRUSSELS -- Russia told the United States on Wednesday to stop backing Kosovo independence while talks continue, and Serbia warned the EU on Wednesday that it would not accept any decision on Kosovo made outside the United Nations.

Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, Russia's envoy in the so-called Troika with the European Union and the United States supervising the Kosovo talks, accused Washington of bad faith for declaring support for Kosovo independence to occur later this year.

"I absolutely do not support that kind of attitude and those messages from the United States. I didn't expect that from the United States at the very moment negotiations began," he was quoted as saying by Serbia's daily Vecernje Novosti.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica also called on the West not to encourage the breakaway province to declare independence and said Belgrade was being constructive in negotiations to resolve Kosovo's future by Dec. 10.

He gave no hint of any progress in the talks.

"We do think that the United Nations and the Security Council are the sole institutions in which the problem of the future status of Kosovo should be dealt with," he said after talks in Brussels with the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. "Everything else is a sort of violation of international law."

Efforts to win a Security Council resolution rubber-stamping a UN plan to put Kosovo on the road to independence broke down this year after Russia threatened to veto any such resolution.

Moscow insists that any pact on the province, administered by the UN since a 1999 NATO bombing campaign to drive out Serbian forces, must not be imposed on Belgrade.

Leaders of Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanians say they will declare independence unilaterally if internationally mediated talks that began in Vienna last month do not yield anything, and they have called on the United States and EU to back them.

The Troika is due to submit a report to the UN secretary-general on Dec. 10, a date Washington regards as a deadline after which a prompt decision must be made.

"This is only a deadline for the Troika, but not for the negotiations," Botsan-Kharchenko said.

"Russia is against any kind of deadline. Negotiations are necessary until a compromise solution is reached. Russia will not give up the position that the last decision on Kosovo has to be made in the Security Council," he said. "Everything but that would be a breach of the international law. And Russia will not accept that."