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Last Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007, 14:54 GMT
Nato-Russia tension over Kosovo
KFOR troops in Mitrovica
Nato troops have been stationed in several flashpoints in Kosovo
Nato and Russia have failed to narrow their differences over the future status of Kosovo ahead of Monday's UN deadline for an agreement.

"Clearly the Russian position is different," said Nato spokesman James Appathurai after talks in Brussels.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow's demand for negotiations to continue beyond Monday.

Nato has confirmed it will keep 16,000 troops in Kosovo - still a province of Serbia - to deter any violence.

The UN set a 10 December deadline for internationally-brokered talks to deliver agreement on Kosovo - but the talks have already ended without a deal.

Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanians want independence but Serbia opposes this.

'Process should move'

Speaking in Brussels on Friday, Mr Lavrov said Serbia had "presented a whole series of specific proposals, compromise proposals" which merited further negotiations on Kosovo's status.

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The day Nato and UN leave the region, there will be war all over
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But Mr Appathurai said "the Nato point of view is ... that the process should now move - that there needs to be movement towards resolution".

Earlier, Nato Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Nato would "act resolutely against anyone who seeks to resort to violence".

Ethnic Albanian leaders have warned they may declare independence unilaterally after Monday's deadline lapses, prompting fears of a fresh outbreak of violence.

Kosovo's independence ambitions have the broad backing of the US and several EU nations.

The UN's top administrator in Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, has put forward a plan offering Kosovo "supervised independence".

The plan - accepted by the ethnic Albanians - would mean international agencies gradually steer Kosovo's institutions towards independence, while safeguarding the rights and property of the Serb minority.

But Russia has supported Serbia's stance at the UN Security Council, arguing that independence for Kosovo could provide dangerous inspiration for separatists elsewhere.

Risk of flare-up

Nato was criticised after it failed to prevent riots by ethnic Albanians in 2004 in which Serbs were attacked. Nineteen people died in the violence.

Kosovo Albanian leaders Hashim Thaci and Fatmir Sejdiu
Kosovo's Albanian leaders want nothing less than independence
The EU's mediator on Kosovo on Thursday criticised comments by Aleksandar Simic, an aide to Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, who said war could be a "legal tool" to resolve the Kosovo issue if other methods failed.

"I do hope this statement was not authorised. I expect it to be retracted," Wolfgang Ischinger said.

Though technically part of Serbia, Kosovo has been administered by the UN for the last eight years.

Belgrade's security forces were driven out of Kosovo by a Nato bombing campaign in 1999, launched to stop a violent Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanians.



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David Miliband on the challenge Kosovo poses to Nato



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