Serbia threatens blockades if Kosovo declares independence

Serbia threatened to impose an economic and travel blockade on Kosovo if the breakaway province declares independence, as a last-ditch attempt to negotiate a settlement deadlocked and appeared doomed to fail. International mediators' failure to forge a compromise before a December 10 UN deadline raised the likelihood that an increasingly impatient Kosovo will declare statehood sometime early in 2008, throwing the Balkans into fresh turmoil - and possibly violence. Top officials from the rival sides both conceded they remain far apart. Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority demands full independence, while Serbia insists the southern province remain part of its territory.