Serb-Kosovo talks yield no results, second round set for Oct. 14
( RIA Novosti ) - Serbia and its breakaway province of Kosovo held the first round of their first direct talks Friday with international mediators participating but failed to reach any agreement.
The second round of direct talks between Serbia and its predominantly Albanian region of Kosovo, mediated by Russia, the U.S. and the EU, will be held in Brussels October 14, the European Union's representative from Germany, Wolfgang Ischinger, said.
Kosovo, now 90% populated by ethnic Albanians, has been a UN protectorate since NATO's 1999 bombing campaign that ended a conflict between Serb troops and Albanian separatists. Serbia sees Kosovo's status as a broad autonomy, but Kosovo wants full sovereignty.
Serbia and Kosovo confirmed Friday their commitment to restrain from actions undermining security.
A Russian mediator said Russia will press for a compromise over the status of Kosovo. " Russia will actively seek a compromise," Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko said at a meeting of the diplomatic troika, which is part of the Kosovo Contact Group on the status of the province. The Contact Group comprises Russia, the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, and Italy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier Friday Russia is against setting time limitations on dialogue between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians on the breakaway province's status.
"We do not deem it expedient to limit negotiations putting them into a Procrustean bed of a time schedule," Putin told journalists after talks with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
World powers have given Belgrade and Pristina a deadline of December 10 to reach an agreement on the issue.
Putin said it would be "extremely irresponsible to disregard" the principle of territorial integrity, adding that there should be "a free dialogue aimed at seeking a compromise for both sides."
Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu expressed his disappointment to journalists Friday that the first round of direct talks yielded no results.
The U.S. has made it clear that it will recognize Kosovo's independence after the December 10 deadline if no agreement is reached.
Russia, a veto-wielding Security Council member and a staunch ally of Belgrade, has repeatedly said that granting Kosovo sovereignty would violate Serbia's territorial integrity and set a precedent for other breakaway regions, including those of the former Soviet Union.