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Slovenia to host Kosovo talks

Slovenia, the incumbent EU presidency, will host a high-level meeting on Kosovo this week with the presence of foreign ministers from four major EU countries and senior EU officials.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel will host on Saturday his counterparts from Britain, France, Germany and Italy, as well as the EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn and the EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana, the Slovenian national news agency STA reported.

The officials will analyze the current situation regarding the Kosovo status, but no breakthrough decisions are expected, said the reports quoting a diplomatic source in Brussels. Talks are expected to focus on when the European Union would send its civilian mission to the breakaway province. The deployment of the 1,800-strong mission, which will replace the U.N.-led mission, is expected to be on the agenda of the EU foreign ministers' meeting on Jan. 28.

But a diplomatic source in Brussels said last week the decision could be postponed to the February meeting in order to prevent it from having an impact on the presidential elections in Serbia, where the first round will be held on Jan. 20 and the run-off on Feb. 3. Serbia has rejected the idea of deploying EU mission in Kosovo without the U.N. approval, for fear of paving the way for Kosovo's independence.

Kosovo has been run by the U.N. mission since NATO bombing forced the pullout of the Serbian troops from the ethnic Albanian dominated province in 1999. Following failed talks between Belgrade and Pristina on the future status of the province, Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders have pledged to unilaterally declare independence in early 2008, but the move is unlikely before presidential elections in Serbia. The United States and a number of European countries are expected to recognize Kosovo's independence, but Serbia and its ally Russia said they would oppose any such move. (Xinhua)