Steinmeier reaffirms need for diplomatic solution to Kosovo crisis


Berlin : German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier here Sunday reiterated the need for a negotiated settlement of the crisis over Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo.

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He welcomed the nomination of Germany's envoy to Britain, Wolfgang Ischinger, by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to represent the EU in the upcoming talks on the future status of Kosovo.

Hailing Ischinger as an excellent expert of the Balkan region, Steinmeier stressed it was important that all parties would use the chance for talks "to possibly reach an amicable result".

The 61-year-old Ischinger will join high-level diplomats from the US and Russia to lead the talks with Serbs and Kosovars.

Ischinger is a senior German diplomat who was involved in the 1995 negotiations to end the Bosnia war as well the 1999 talks between Germany and Russia during the Kosovo war.

The decision to nominate Ischinger was made during the meeting of the Kosovo Contact Group in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Officials from the US, Russia, Germany, France, Britain and Italy held talks earlier this week at the German embassy in Vienna in an effort to remove the US-Russian deadlock over the UN plan to grant Kosovo internationally-monitored independence, and find a new format for negotiations.

EU foreign ministers had decided Monday to restrict new talks to 120 days and hold them within a smaller format in a bid to be more effective.

Berlin proposed a troika of the EU, Russia and US to lead the negotiations.