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Serbia believes direct talks with Kosovo on the province's status should
Serbia believes direct talks with Kosovo on the province's status should continue after mediators submit their report to the UN on failed negotiations, the deputy prime minister said on Wednesday.

Diplomats mediating the talks from Russia, the United States and the European Union concluded four months of negotiations last week, and said no compromise had been reached. The mediators are to submit a report on the talks to the United Nations by December 10.

"If Belgium needs six months to form a government, and if it took Northern Ireland 36 years and the Middle East decades, why not organize several additional rounds of negotiations," Bozidar Djelic told a conference on the Balkans in Brussels, organized by the Friends of Europe think tank.

During latest round of negotiations held in Austria last week between Belgrade, Pristina, and the mediating parties, Serbia reiterated offers for broad autonomy while Kosovo continued to insist on full independence.

The Serb deputy premier said his country is ready to grant Kosovo a level of autonomy that would have no precedent in the world, and reiterated Belgrade's commitment not to use force against the breakaway province under any circumstances.

Serb Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said on Tuesday that the Foreign Ministry had submitted to the country's government an action plan to be used if Kosovo Albanian authorities declare unilateral independence from Serbia.

He refused to spell out the measures, saying the issue was a "state secret." However, he told lawmakers that the plan envisaged "breaking off diplomatic relations with those countries that recognize Kosovo's independence as the toughest measure."

Kosovo has threatened to unilaterally declare independence in January if no agreement is reached with Serbia, while Belgrade has warned it may impose an economic blockade on the small impoverished region if Kosovo Albanians carry out their threat.


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