Kosovo status remains open, says Holbrooke

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The Independent Online

The future status of Kosovo remains an open question as far as the US administration is concerned, Richard Holbrooke, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said yesterday.

The future status of Kosovo remains an open question as far as the US administration is concerned, Richard Holbrooke, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said yesterday.

Reacting to a report in The Independent, quoting a State department official, Mr Holbrooke denied that the United States had changed its policy on Kosovo by deciding that the UN resolution which set up an interim administration for the Serbian province provided for Kosovo independence.

He said that during his recent trip to the Balkans, "all I was doing was reaffirming something Madeleine Albright and I have long said. We do not believe UN Security Council resolution 1244 precludes independence as one possible option". The UN Security Council adopted in June last year the resolution which recognises the "sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia".

Mr Holbrooke said the resolution left the door open on Kosovo's future by providing for an international conference. While Russia and China believed the resolution decided that Kosovo would remain part of Yugoslavia definitively, "the US believes that issue is open". Asked whether Kosovo should become independent, Mr Holbrooke told the BBC World Service that that was "up to the people of the region to decide".

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