Moscow And Skopje Urge Early Settlement Of Situation In Kosovo

Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and Macedonia's President Boris Trajkovski have urged the need for an early settlement of the situation in Kosovo. They said this during their meeting on Monday in Russia's Defence Ministry. As seen by the foreign minister, the situation in Kosovo is exercising a destabilising influence on the whole world. Ivanov called for every support to be given to the efforts of international organisations, above all the UN, OSCE and European Union, in dealing with international terrorism. "It is important to separate the people's aspirations for self-assertion from terrorism, nationalism and extremism," the minister told the Macedonian leader. Ivanov believes that any political settlement is possible only if it is "based on internationally recognised borders". Russia is for calling an international conference on the Balkans, which "would clearly recognise the inviolability of existing borders," the minister emphasised. The Macedonian president, for his part, said that until ethnic issues are settled in the Balkans, and progress made in fighting crime and terrorism, there will be no advances either in economics or politics. The Balkan situation cannot be stabilised without fulfilling UN resolution 1244 on Kosovo, Trajkovski believes. He said that Islamic fundamentalism, which is also widespread in the Balkans, is not a struggle for human rights, it is "a struggle for criminal interests".

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