Russia not signing any solution on Kosovo imposed by outsiders

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday underlined Moscow's skepticism about plans to resolve Kosovo's status, saying Russia would not sign on to any solution imposed by outsiders.

"A decision on Kosovo can only be reached by the parties," Lavrov said after meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "No one can impose this decision - at least Russia will not participate in such a scheme."

Kosovo, a province of Serbia, has been under U.N. and NATO administration since a 78-day NATO-led air war that halted a Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in 1999.

Ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's 2 million people, are seeking independence from Belgrade. But Serbia and Kosovo's Serb minority say the province is the heart of Serbia's ancient homeland and should remain within its borders.

A U.N. proposal would give Kosovo internationally supervised self-rule and the trappings of statehood, including a flag, anthem, army and constitution. Ethnic Albanians think it does not go far enough, while Serbia considers it an illegal attempt to pry away the region.

Kosovo is a point of friction between Russia and the West. That could produce a showdown at the U.N. Security Council between the United States, which backs Kosovo independence, and Russia, a longtime Serbian ally with veto power.

Lavrov said the goals of a U.N. resolution that established U.N. administration for Kosovo after the war have not been fulfilled, and suggested Western partners in the so-called Contact Group were catering to ethnic Albanians, the AP reports.

U.N. resolution 1244 "has only been implemented with regard to the parts that suit the Kosovo Albanians," Lavrov said. "It has not been implemented in aspects that cause problems with the Kosovo Albanians."

"For example, everyone knows that the return of refugees and displaced persons among the non-Albanian minorities has practically not taken place, or taken place in miserly dimensions."

He said that 90 percent of displaced Serbs and Gypsies could still not return home.

"Further, security in Kosovo, despite the massive presence of armed forces and the U.N. mission, has not been achieved," Lavrov said.

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