The United Nations Security Council ended Wednesday's consultations on the future status of the Serbian province of Kosovo with no conclusions due to major differences among the parties.
"The council did not reach any specific conclusions," said Massimo D'Alema, foreign minister of Italy, which holds the presidency of the UN Security Council.
"The general will around the table was along the line that stability, security of the population, protection of human rights, and of minority rights, and economic and social development should continue to be the focus of our action, and our commitment in the future," D'Alema told reporters after the closed-door consultations.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said there is still room for negotiations between Belgrade and the Serbian province of Kosovo, but the European Union and the United States insist that "the potential for a negotiated solution is now exhausted."
"As optimists we do believe that negotiations can continue, and they can produce an outcome which can be acceptable for the two parties and which would keep stability in Kosovo and in the Balkans," Churkin said.
However, the United States, the European Union and a number of European countries issued a joint statement after the consultations that "the potential for negotiated solution is now exhausted."
"The presentations by the two parties confirmed that their views remain irreconcilable on the fundamental question of sovereignty," the joint statement said. "It is clear in our view that more negotiations in this or any other format will not make any difference."
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Fatmir Sejdiu, president of the Serbian province of Kosovo, presented their views at Wednesday's closed-door consultations.
Russian Ambassador Churkin stressed that Moscow does "not regard it at all as the final time that the Security Council has looked at this issue."
He warned that "any move toward unilateral declaration of independence would clearly be outside of the limits of international law and ... (UN Security Council) Resolution 1244."
"The United Nations should disregard that kind of declaration of independence and call on Pristina to repeal it if things were developing in that direction," the Russian ambassador said.
"If things were to get out of the legal channel, if things were to go in the direction of unilateral moves, that would be sending a shock wave to the international system and international law," Churkin warned.
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said negotiations should not be blocked and that the Security Council should be dedicated to the search of a compromise.
"When there are conflicts, conflicts are solved through negotiations," Kostunica said. "They cannot be stopped. They cannot be blocked."
"We also defended that this august body, the Security Council, should be dedicated to searching for a compromise." Kostunica said
"We are encouraged ... that we heard many voices speaking in favor of this same, and to us very dear, and very important ideas -- respect of law, negotiations, compromise, and so on," he added.
Kostunica warned that "any sort of unilateral declaration of independence, or some partial violation of Resolution 1244, will bring for sure this world organization into serious crisis."
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said "Serbia will do everything that a democratic sovereign country has in its arsenal in order to uphold its constitution short of the use of force."
(Xinhua News Agency December 20, 2007)