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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 16:09 GMT
Kosovo's independence 'in days'
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci - 24 Jan 2008
EU countries want Mr Thaci to wait until they are ready
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has said a declaration of independence is "an issue of days".

"There are some procedures we need to respect and some consultations," he told reporters after meeting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Brussels.

Kosovo is still technically a southern province of Serbia, which strongly opposes its independence.

EU states have asked Kosovo's leadership to wait before a civilian mission can take over from the UN.

A police and judicial staff of about 1,800 is being prepared to work in tandem with the existing Nato force that went into Kosovo in 1999.

'Pandora's box'

The future status of Kosovo is also an important issue in the Serbian presidential election, which goes to a second round early next month.

The BBC's Oana Lungescu says the EU wants Hashim Thaci to delay declaring independence until the election is over.

A European Commission spokeswoman earlier declined to discuss a date.

"We are in a very sensitive political context in which it is better to resort to diplomatic means than to public statements," she said.

In his comments to reporters, Mr Thaci repeated earlier statements that a declaration would be made in co-ordination with the European Union and the United States.

Russia insists any change in Kosovo's status must have the backing of Belgrade as well as Pristina.

Moscow's new ambassador to Nato, Dmitry Rogozin, has called on Serbia to resist Western recognition of independence for Kosovo, saying it could open a "Pandora's box".

Putin urges consensus on Kosovo
17 Jan 08 |  Europe
Profile: Hashim Thaci
09 Jan 08 |  Europe
Regions and territories: Kosovo
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