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Lavrov cautions against giving artificial boost to Kosovo settlement

According to Russia's top diplomat, the solution to the Kosovo issue must be in line with international law and must be approved by the Security Council

BELGRADE, June 18./TASS/. Attempts to artificially encourage the Kosovo settlement are counterproductive, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

"We believe that encouraging the so-called final normalization, fitting it within certain artificial timeframes would be counterproductive," Lavrov said after talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

Russia’s position on the Kosovo settlement remains invariable, he stressed. "We will be supporting any moves, any efforts, and any initiatives that will in practice help Belgrade and Pristina arrive at a viable mutually acceptable solution on the basis of Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council. Let me reiterate that it was at Russia’s insistence that the resolution confirmed the territorial integrity of Serbia," he added.

According to Lavrov, this solution must be in line with international law and must be approved by the Security Council. "We will agree, as President [Vladimir] Putin has repeatedly said, only with the solution that will suit the Serbs themselves, who protect their legitimate rights and interests in Kosovo," Lavrov stressed.

"Russia goes on the premise that the EU, which has the mandate of the UN General Assembly as a mediator in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, must not dodge its obligations and must comply with them unbiasedly and efficiently and seek implementation of the earlier achieved decisions, in particular the decision to create an Association of Serb Municipalities, which many now prefer to forget. It was achieved between Belgrade and Pristina with the assistance of the EU and is now being openly sabotaged by the Kosovo Albanian side," the foreign minister underscored.

Serbia’s Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija unilaterally proclaimed independence in February 2008, which was recognized by the United Nations Court of Justice in 2010. However more than 60 countries, including Russia, China, India, Israel, Greece, India and Spain, are categorically against recognizing Kosovo’s independence. Nevertheless, Kosovo has been seeking to join international organizations, including UNESCO and Interpol.

Serbia’s diplomats have been urging developing countries to revise their decisions to recognize Kosovo’s independence. Thus, over the past year, eighteen countries, including Ghana, Papua New Guinea, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Suriname, Liberia, Lesotho and Madagascar sided with Belgrade.