Kosovo's prime minister turns to US for help in EU-mediated talks with Serbia

Kosovo's prime minister has urged the United States to intervene and not allow concessions to Kosovo's Serb minority in talks with neighboring Serbia that could split the country.

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci urged U.S. Deputy State Secretary William Burns to back Kosovo's refusal to grant Serb minority rights "that would undermine the constitution and internal order," he said in a statement Wednesday.

The comment highlighted the pressure on Kosovo to agree to virtual self-rule for its Serb minority in talks mediated by the European Union.

Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 2008, an act that Serbia has never accepted. Kosovo has agreed to hold local elections in its Serb-run northern region but without executive powers that would snub federal rule.

Serbia is expected to dismantle illegal barriers in northern Kosovo.