EU appoints representative to facilitate Serbia-Kosovo talks

July 31, 2007 - 0:0

BRUSSELS (Xinhua) -- The European Union has appointed Wolfgang Ischinger, Germany's ambassador to Britain, to facilitate talks between Serbia and Kosovo, an EU spokeswoman said on Sunday.

Ischinger will now work with representatives from Russia and the United States to encourage meaningful negotiations between the parties, said spokeswoman Cristina Gallach.
""Kosovo is a key priority for the European Union. The High Representative will continue to closely follow the situation and his frequent contacts with the parties with the aim to achieve a lasting and sustainable solution to the question,"" she said.
Russia, the United States and four EU member states -- Britain, France, Italy, Germany, formed the Contact Group on Kosovo.
Ischinger is regarded as an expert on the Balkans, and participated in the Bosnian peace talks held in Dayton, the United States. He served as Germany's ambassador to the United States from 2001 to 2006.
Last week, the Western nations announced that they were not seeking a UN Security Council vote on their draft resolution concerning Kosovo's future status. The negotiations will now be pursued through the Contact Group, which will facilitate talks between Belgrade and Pristina.
Russia, which was against the draft, calls for further negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina during a 120-day period. However, it dropped a previous reference to an automatic road to internationally supervised independence if the talks fail.
The Serbian breakaway province of Kosovo, where 90 percent of the two million population are ethnic Albanians, has been under UN administration for eight years