Russia doubts legitimacy of elected Kosovo authorities: Foreign Min

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Moscow, Nov 21 (UNI) Russia said today a boycott by ethnic Serbs of recent parliamentary polls in Kosovo puts into question the legitimacy of the future authorities in the breakaway republic.

Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement, ''Undoubtedly, the question is, how politically legitimate the authorities can be without the ethnic Serb votes,'' referring to the results of the recent parliamentary elections in Kosovo.

''Will they be able to cooperate constructively with the second largest ethnic minority in Kosovo ? Without this cooperation there will be no stability or sustainable development in the region,'' he noted.

Kosovo held parliamentary elections on November 17, which, according to unofficial results, were won by former rebel leader Hashim Thaci, who vowed to declare independence for Kosovo.

The province's ethnic Serb population (about 6 per cent) boycotted the election.

Kosovo has been a UN protectorate since NATO's long bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia ended a bloody war between Serb forces and Muslim Albanian separatists in 1999.

The US and EU have pushed for Kosovo's independence, while Russia has strongly opposed it, saying security and humanitarian requirements should be met first and that independence would set a dangerous precedent, including for post-Soviet states.

December 10 has been set as the deadline for the Contact Group-Russia, the United States and the four largest European Union members- negotiating a solution on the predominantly Albanian province's status - to submit a report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Meanwhile, another round of talks on the status of Kosovo, held yesterday in Brussels, resulted in failure to reach a compromise between Serbian and Kosovo Albanian leaders.

The parties agreed to make another attempt to break a deadlock on the issue during three-day talks next week.


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