Source AP ©

Talks on Kosovo's future opened in London

Britain's Foreign Office said that the U.S., European Union and Russian envoys had reopened talks with Serbian officials Tuesday over the future status of the disputed province of Kosovo.

The Contact Group troika - as the group of envoys is known - will discuss Serbia's vehement opposition to an independent Kosovo, before meeting with Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders separately on Wednesday.

The rival groups are to meet face-to-face for the first time in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 28.

The Contact Group is to report to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the progress of the talks by Dec. 10.

The Contact Group troika will discuss Serbia's vehement
The Contact Group troika will discuss Serbia's vehement
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic and Kosovo's Prime Minister Agim Ceku and President Fatmir Sejdiu are among those attending the talks in London.

Kosovo remains formally part of Serbia, but the province has been run by the United Nations and NATO since 1999, when NATO bombed Serbia to stop a military campaign against ethnic Albanian separatists.

Ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's 2 million people, insist on independence. But Serbia, backed by Russia, refuses to let go of its historic heartland.

Serbia and Russia have rejected a Western-backed plan granting internationally supervised independence to Kosovo. The U.S. statement said that plan represented the best option if no other compromise was agreed by December.