The European Union's (EU) foreign policy chief Javier Solana has said the EU still hopes that negotiations could succeed in concluding the process of Kosovo's future status.
"We want to give negotiations a chance, and therefore we are going to see how to go about it, together with our friends from the US and Russia, to move forward the process," Solana said after the first day talks of the EU foreign ministers on Monday.
Solana, who criticised the UN Security Council for its failure last week to adopt a resolution on Kosovo, said the EU "would like to deal with both Belgrade and Pristina to get engaged in the process that will not be open-ended".
The Serbian breakaway province of Kosovo, with 90 per cent of its two million population ethnic Albanians, has been under UN administration for eight years.
Speaking alongside Solana, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said that the plan by Martti Ahtisaari, the UN special envoy on Kosovo, should be the basis for future talks.
Under the plan, Kosovo should be granted independence supervised by the international community.
"Kosovo is profoundly a European matter. We need a sustainable settlement to ensure long-term stability in the region," he said.
"If the Contact Group is going to have further negotiations we are of course ready to contribute to those," he added.
He said the EU "counts on Serbia and Kosovo to play a constructive role in the next phase of talks".
The western nations announced on last Friday that they are not seeking a UN Security Council vote on their draft resolution concerning Kosovo's future status.
The draft resolution was sponsored by Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the US.
Russia was against the draft, which calls for further negotiations between Belgrade and Kosovo's ethic Albanians during a 120-day period but drops a previous reference to an automatic road to internationally supervised independence if the talks fail.