Serbia-Montenegro leaders meet to discuss Kosovo talks

Top Serbia-Montenegro leaders met Wednesday to plot strategy for the upcoming U.N.-mediated negotiations on Kosovo's future status, saying the troubled province cannot become independent. A statement after the closed-door meeting said that "the principle" of keeping international borders in Europe intact should also be respected during the Kosovo negotiations, which are expected to start later this month.

The Serbia-Montenegro leaders said they are open for "a compromise," but added that there should be no "imposing of solutions" during the negotiations with independence-seeking Kosovo Albanian officials. The late night meeting in Belgrade was attended by presidents and prime ministers of both Serbia and Montenegro.

The United Nations, which has administered Kosovo since NATO's 1999 air war against Serbia, on Tuesday appointed former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari to mediate the Kosovo negotiations.

Kosovo's 90-percent ethnic Albanian majority wants independence, while the Serbian minority and its leaders want it to remain part of Serbia. A.M.

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