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Kosovo will not declare unilateral independence before March 10, a Pristina-based
Kosovo will not declare unilateral independence before March 10, a Pristina-based newspaper said, citing sources in the Kosovo delegation negotiating the province's status.

The Express daily referred in particular to an agreement between Spain and other European Union states that Kosovo authorities would not proclaim independence until after parliamentary elections in Spain, due on March 9.

The paper said Madrid believes that the events in Kosovo could affect the outcome of the Spanish elections and strengthen separatist sentiment in the country.

According to Kosovo's newly elected prime minister, Hasim Taci, the breakaway province of Serbia will unilaterally declare its independence in a few weeks.

"I assure you that we will declare independence in a few weeks. It's already an accomplished fact - we only need to declare it," said Taci, who was sworn in by parliament on Wednesday.

Taci's Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK) has formed a governing coalition with President Fatmir Seidiu's Democratic Alliance of Kosovo.

Russia warned on Thursday that it will block any resolution on Kosovo's status at the UN Security Council until both parties have found a mutually acceptable settlement.

Throughout long-running talks aimed at finding a solution to the status of Serbia's breakaway province, Russia has backed Belgrade in opposing Kosovo's sovereignty, warning it would have a knock on effect for other secessionist areas, such as Transdnestr in Moldova, South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia and Nagorny Karabakh in Azerbaijan, so-called frozen conflicts since the 1990s.

The Albanian-dominated Serbian province has been a UN protectorate since the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia ended a conflict between Albanian and Serb forces in 1999.

Most Western states have backed the volatile area's drive for independence, and said recently that Kosovo's status would now be determined by the European Union and NATO. Russia is insisting that Belgrade and Pristina continue to try to reach a compromise.


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