BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ A top Serbian official repeated Sunday his country's rejection of a U.S. plan for Kosovo, saying the proposal would lead to the secession of the troubled province that Serbia vows to keep.

Serb Vice Premier Milovan Bojic blasted the U.S.-drafted solution for Kosovo, which envisages loosening Kosovo's ties with Serbia's central authorities while keeping it formally within its borders.

Bojic said the plan, which was drafted by U.S. envoy Christopher Hill, is an ``indirect way to full secession'' of Kosovo from Serbia, the larger of two republics that comprise Yugoslavia.

``Putting out the fire cannot be done by chopping up'' Serbia, Bojic said in an interview with state-run Serbian TV on Sunday.

Ethnic Albanians form a 90 percent majority in Kosovo and seek independence, but have indicated they might temporarily settle for less-broad self-rule within Yugoslavia.

Bojic said the Serbs' counterproposal, which would grant a smaller degree of autonomy to Kosovo, is the only solution. The Albanians have already rejected the Serb proposal.

Hundreds have died and an estimated 300,000 people fled their homes after the long-standing crisis in Kosovo turned into an open war this year between ethnic Albanian separatists and government forces.