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UN warns over Kosovo impasse

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned of the "dangerous" impasse over the future status of Kosovo, saying his main concern would be to protect lives and uphold stability.

world Updated: Jan 26, 2008 15:30 IST

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned of the "dangerous" impasse over the future status of Kosovo, saying his main concern would be to protect lives and uphold stability in the region should events on the ground degenerate.

Addressing reporters after holdings talks in Brdo with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, Ban Ki-moon said on Friday: "If the current impasse continues, the situation on the ground may take a direction that nobody wants to see happen. This would be very dangerous.

"As secretary general of the United Nations, my paramount concern is to maintain peace, protect lives, and ensure the safety of the UN staff," he said.

The UN chief declined to say whether he would endorse a planned European Union civilian mission to the province, saying only that he would be taking "the necessary measures, in close cooperation, with the EU, as the situation develops".

Kosovo, a predominantly ethnic-Albanian province of two million people, is threatening to declare independence from Serbia.

Independence is opposed by Belgrade and Russia, which holds veto powers within the Security Council. The two sides are also opposing the EU mission, which would take over the province's administration from the UN.

Ban Ki-moon also expressed his "concern" that the Security Council remained "deeply divided" over the issue, noting that this state of affairs was "dangerous for the situation in Kosovo".