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A top EU official said Thursday she hopes that if Kosovo
A top EU official said Thursday she hopes that if Kosovo unilaterally declares independence, Russia will not respond by recognizing the independence of breakaway territories in the former Soviet Union.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European commissioner for external relations and European neighborhood policy, said that although no decision on the predominantly Albanian province of Serbia has yet been reached, she hopes that if Kosovo takes the unilateral route, Russia will not then recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent of Georgia.

The UN secretary general said Thursday that international mediators in talks on Kosovo would submit a report on talks on the province's status on Friday, three days ahead of schedule, but added that rescheduling the report was not politically motivated, but due to his upcoming trip to an international global climate conference in Bali.

The Contact Group troika of mediators - Russia, the United States and the European Union - concluded months of talks last week, and was due to report to Ban Ki-moon on negotiations geared towards a compromise between Belgrade and Pristina on December 10, a deadline set by the UN.

EU representative Wolfgang Ischinger told a news conference Monday that the report would state that Belgrade and Pristina had failed to reach a compromise on the status for the province. The document will also list the proposals made by both the Serbian and Kosovo delegations.

The troika denied that the report would contain any concrete proposals for a solution to the issue of Kosovo.

During the latest round of negotiations held in Austria last week, Serbia reiterated offers for broad autonomy while Kosovo, a UN protectorate since 1999, continued to insist on full independence.

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.

The U.S. and some European countries back Kosovo's independence, while Russia, Serbia's long-time ally, says independence would have a knock on effect for other separatist regions, including in former Soviet republics, and insists on a resolution on the security and humanitarian problems in the region, particularly the return of refugees and displaced persons.

Parliamentary elections in Kosovo on November 17 were won by former rebel leader Hashim Thaci, who has vowed to declare independence for Kosovo. The province's ethnic Serb population (around 6%) boycotted the election.

A NATO bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia ended a bloody war between Serb forces and Albanian separatists in 1999.

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