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Serbian premier warns EU about Kosovo future status

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica warned on Friday that the European Union would face a huge test in deciding the future status of the Serbian province of Kosovo.

"It will be a serious test for the EU whether this issue will be resolved in keeping with the principles of international law with the respect of the territorial integrity of a democratic country, or whether other solutions will be invoked," Kostunica told the press, following a meeting with visiting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Kosovo has been placed under UN administration since 1999 following NATO bombing that halted the Serbian crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians. Serbia wants to retain at least nominal sovereignty over Kosovo while Kosovo's ethnic Albanians demand outright independence.

On Tuesday, Kosovo authorities turned down Serbia's proposal that it remain under UN administration during a 20-year transition period. Kosovo's deputy premier Lutfi Haziri said that Kosovo " will not make a compromise over independence."

UN-mediated status talks between Serbia and the Kosovo Albanians began in February in Vienna and are under pressure to reach a settlement by the year's end.

On Friday, Solana told the local B92 TV that he has not given anyone any guarantees that Kosovo would be independent, refuting allegations that he has assured Kosovo Albanian leader Hashim Thaci that Kosovo would be independent.

Solana said that he was not involved in the status talks and that he could not say what the outcome would be.

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