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Kosovo to declare independence soon
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Kosovo is ready to declare independence in coming days, Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said on Thursday.

"It is an issue of days," the breakaway Serbian province leader said after talks with EU top diplomat Javier Solana.

"Kosovo is ready. we will proclaim independence very soon," he added, noting that some procedures would need to be conducted ahead of the declaration.

He said the Kosovo authorities would coordinate with "the European Union and the United States" on the matter.

"We will cooperate closely," Thaci said, "We have some procedures that we need to respect and some consultations that we need to respect too, but Kosovo is ready, is united and I think the date we will proclaim in Pristina is very soon."

Kosovo, a Serbian province inhabited by a majority of ethnic Albanians, would declare unilaterally independence as a UN resolution is not likely to solve the problem of Kosovo's future status since Russia has stood by Serbia, which prefers that Kosovo enjoys broad autonomy within its territory.

Multiple rounds of direct negotiations, which was mediated by the troika of the EU, Russia and the United States, failed to resolve the future status of Kosovo before the West-set December 10 deadline.

The 27-nation EU has remained divided over whether or not to recognize Kosovo's one-sided declared independence, with Cyprus, Greece, among others, unwilling to do so.

The United States has backed Kosovo's independence while Russia has strongly opposed it.

The EU decided to send a police and civilian mission of 1,800 personnel to Kosovo to help transition from the United Nations to local rule. The province has been administrated by the UN since 1999.

(Xinhua News Agency January 25, 2008)

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