Only UN can resolve Kosovo fate-Serbia's Kostunica

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BRUSSELS, Sep 12 (Reuters) Serb Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica today said the fate of Kosovo could be resolved only at the United Nations and called on the West not to encourage the breakaway province to declare independence.

Kostunica said Belgrade was being constructive in negotiations to resolve Kosovo's future by December. 10 but gave no hint of any progress in the talks.

''We do think that the United Nations and the Security Council are the sole institutions in which the problem of the future status of Kosovo should be dealt with,'' he said after talks in Brussels with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

''Everything else is a sort of violation of international law.'' Efforts to win a Security Council resolution rubber-stamping a UN plan to put Kosovo on the road to independence broke down this year after Serb ally Russia threatened to veto any such resolution in the Council.

Moscow insists any pact on the province, administered by the United Nations since a 1999 NATO bombing campaign to drive out Serb forces, must not be imposed on Belgrade.

Leaders of Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanians say they will declare independence unilaterally if internationally mediated talks which began in Vienna last month do not yield anything and have called on the United States and EU to back them.

Kostunica said recent comments by a junior Serb minister suggesting Belgrade could deploy forces to Kosovo in the event of a unilateral declaration of independence had been misinterpreted.

But he said any such declaration would be ''more than dangerous'' and urged the West not to encourage Kosovo Albanians to take that route.

''We do think the international community and institutions, the EU, should warn that during negotations and not only during negotiations that such messages should not be sent,'' he said.

Solana insisted the EU was doing everything it could to reach a deal in the negotiations and said the main parties accompanying the talks -- the EU, Russia and the United States -- had agreed to refrain from prognostications during them.

Asked to comment on a new call from Belgrade that the Serb minority in Kosovo should boycott an election in the province tentatively planned for November. 17, Solana said he had always urged them to participate.

''The position of the government of Serbia is different and we disagree on that point,'' he said.

Serbs voted in Kosovo's first general election under UN rule but boycotted the second at the urging of Serbia.

REUTERS SG RK1750

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