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Ahtisaari talks with top EU officials following death of Rugova

BRUSSELS, Belgium-Martti Ahtisaari, the U.N. envoy appointed to head talks on Kosovo's future was to hold talks with top European Union officials Friday, to assess the way ahead after the death of Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova.

Rugova's death has left a leadership vacuum in the disputed province and talks meant to start this week on the future of Kosovo were postponed until next month.

Ahtisaari was to meet with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who on Thursday urged Kosovo politicians to quickly appoint a new leader.

"Political leaders must display unity and responsibility," Solana said at Rugova's memorial service in Pristina. "There is great deal of work to do and there is no time to lose."

Ahtisaari, a former Finnish president, was also to meet European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, who was to unveil a new draft policy paper on forging closer ties with the Western Balkans. His paper is to be studied by EU foreign ministers at informal talks in March.

January 27, 2006 4:35 AM

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