Kosovo status talks to enter new high-level political phase, UN envoy says

Kosovo status talks to enter new high-level political phase, UN envoy says

As senior officials from Kosovo and Serbia met in New York today with members of the Security Council, a United Nations envoy told that body that status talks on the province will soon enter a more advanced phase.

Briefing the Council behind closed doors, Martti Ahtisaari, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Kosovo’s future status process, said he intends to take the process, begun in February, from technical talks to a new high-level political phase, to be held this month in Vienna, UN spokesman Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.

During the new phase, teams from both sides will be invited to present their positions on status, she added.

At a closed meeting this morning, the Security Council heard from Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, while in the afternoon, Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu briefed Council members.

Kosovo, an Albanian-majority Serbian province, has been run by the UN since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid ethnic fighting. Mr. Ahtisaari’s status dialogue between Kosovo Albanians and Serbs has been held about twice monthly since it began in February.