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UPDATED: 10:58, February 22, 2007
Final-round talk on Kosovo plan begins in Vienna
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The final round of talks between Serbian and ethnic Albanian negotiators around the plans drafted by UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari on the future status of Kosovo started in Vienna on Wednesday.

Ahtisaari told a press conference later in the day it was a " good beginning."

But the delegation from Belgrade insisted that Kosovo should remain part of its territory, while the province's ethnic Albanian majority demanded the final outright independence.

Both the rival sides did not change their positions and move closer to a compromise, as Ahtisaari said after the meeting.

Furthermore, the Kosovo's future plan, in which Kosovo was envisaged as a very wide-area self-rule, including matters concerning its own flag and anthem, was unlikely to be realized in the future.

Ahtisaari first presented his plans to representatives of the Contact Group on Jan. 26, and he received support from the majority Western developed countries, such as the United States, Britain, France, Italy and Germany.

Then he visited Belgrade and Kosovo's provincial capital Pristina to present his plan to the two sides in earlier February. However, his plan prompted violent protests from the local people, and the Serbia's parliament also rejected it and said in a resolution the plan was "illegal."

In the meantime, Ahtisaari, who is also Finnish ex-president, warned against the continuing delay to solve the Kosovo's problems and he said it would probably cause more safety problems in the area.

After the final round of talks on the status settlement for Kosovo, set to end on Mar. 2, Ahtisaari is expected to draw out his final version of the Kosovo status plan in details and the UN Security Council will make the final decision in the coming months.

By that time, Serbia's President Boris Tadic and head of government Vojislav Kostunica would also attend Ahtisaari's final presentation about Kosovo's plan in Vienna on Mar. 10, according to a report from Belgrade.

Source: Xinhua

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