Kosovo turns to US for help in talks with Serbia

Slovenian troops serving in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, observe as local Serbs block the road near the village of Rudare, Kosovo, Friday, July 29, 2011. The European Union on Friday urged Serbia and Kosovo to reduce tensions after a series of incidents on their border. A top Serbian official says Serbs in Kosovo's north are blocking a convoy of NATO vehicles from reaching their base. Kosovo negotiator Borislav Stefanovic said he cannot ask the hundreds of protesters to unblock the road. The Serbs barricaded the road with trucks and mounds of earth in response to the military alliance taking over control of two crossing points on Kosovo's border with Serbia on Thursday.


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: February 27, 2013

PRISTINA, Kosovo -- Kosovo's prime minister has urged the United States to intervene and not allow concessions to Kosovo's Serb minority in talks with neighboring Serbia that could split the country.

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci urged U.S. Deputy State Secretary William Burns to back Kosovo's refusal to grant Serb minority rights "that would undermine the constitution and internal order," he said in a statement Wednesday.

The comment highlighted the pressure on Kosovo to agree to virtual self-rule for its Serb minority in talks mediated by the European Union.

Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 2008, an act that Serbia has never accepted. Kosovo has agreed to hold local elections in its Serb-run northern region but without executive powers that would snub federal rule.

Serbia is expected to dismantle illegal barriers in northern Kosovo.