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Serbia, Kosovo leaders spar over UN independence plan

[JURIST] Kosovan Prime Minister Agim Ceku [official website] Tuesday urged Serbs to accept a UN plan to have Kosovo govern itself as an autonomous, multi-ethnic society. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica [official website] responded that Kosovo "could never be independent" and calling the plan "an act of legal violence." The plan was narrowly rejected by the Serbian Parliament [JURIST report] last month and its future will now be determined by the UN Security Council. The Council is expected to hold its first formal discussion of the plan on April 3 before a divided membership: Russia supports Serbia, while the US and EU states support Kosovo.

In a report [PDF] sent by UN Special Envoy Marrti Ahtisaari [official profile] to the Security Council on Monday, Ahtisaari called independence with international supervision "the only viable option" for Kosovo. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed support for Ahtisaari's conclusions and said [press release] the UN plan was a "fair and sustainable solution to Kosovo’s future status." Ahtisaari's plan calls for the creation of a constitution which would protect the rights of all ethnic groups [JURIST report], emphasizing their cultures, languages and religions. Kosovo's two million inhabitants consist of roughly 1.5 million ethnic Albanians, 100,000 Serbs, and smaller populations of Bosnians, Turks and other ethnic groups. These groups would all be represented in the judiciary, police and political institutions, which would be monitored by an EU Mission in Kosovo [official website]. AP has more.

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