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EU, US: Kosovo status talks will not be affected by Serbia constitution

[JURIST] Officials from the European Union [official website] and the US are adamant that references in the newly approved [JURIST report] Serbian constitution [DOC text, in Serbian] declaring Kosovo part of Serbia will not impact ongoing United Nations [official website] discussions over the region's future status. Although still technically a province of the former Yugoslav state, Kosovo has been under UN administration since 1999 when a NATO [official website] bombing campaign drove Serbian forces out of Kosovo [BBC timeline] after reports of mass "ethnic cleansing" which displaced 1.5 million ethnic Albanians. A spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana [official profile] said Monday that the references in the Serbian constitution will need to be clarified with the UN Security Council [official website], and US State Department [official website] spokesman Tom Casey also indicated Monday that Kosovo's status cannot be "unilaterally" decided by Serbia.

Despite the continuing UN discussions on granting Kosovo possible independence from Serbia [JURIST news archives], the Serbian constitution is scheduled for a referendum vote in late October. The EU indicated Tuesday that the scheduled deadline for a resolution on Kosovo's status may not be met by December, but the US is still optimistic that the decision will be made by the end of the year. EUObserver.com has more.

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