Albanians appoint negotiating team, but refuse to talk to Serbs

eks of deadlock, Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leaders appointed a four-member negotiating team Monday — but refused to start talks with the Serbian government without international mediation.
The appointment of negotiators was a step forward in Kosovo, a troubled province in southern Serbia, the larger of the two remaining republics in Yugoslavia. But it remained unclear if and when talks would begin.
Trying to shift the blame for the delayed talks onto the Albanians, Serbian President Milan Milutinovic announced Monday he would travel to Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, on Tuesday to take part in the negotiations called by his government.
Milutinovic will be the highest-ranked Serb official to visit Pristina since the latest Kosovo violence started Feb. 28.
Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo have demanded international mediation in the wake of a bloody Serb police crackdown on Albanian militants last month. More than 80 people were killed in the clashes in a region west of Pristina.
The Serbian parliament, acting on a proposal by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, is expected to call Tuesday for a referendum on whether foreigners should mediate talks on Kosovo’s future. A majority of Serbs are expected to reject such mediation.
Kosovo Albanians have rejected the referendum, as have Serb opposition parties and intellectuals.