Russia to veto UN resolution on Kosovo: Lavrov

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Moscow, Dec 21 (UNI) Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Russia would veto a United Nations resolution granting independence to Serbia's Albanian-dominated breakaway province of Kosovo.

''If a decision to approve a unilateral proclamation of independence by Kosovo is made, the veto will undoubtedly be applied,'' Mr Lavrov said in an interview to Russian daily Vremya Novostei published today.

''It is not that Russia wants to create obstacles or feel important. A veto is an important part of international law, which has helped avoid major global conflicts since World War II,'' he said.

The Minister said if the European Union recognises Kosovo's independence ''ignoring existing UN legal mechanisms,'' and ''divide Serbia, tearing out Kosovo and depriving ethnic Serbs of their right to express their opinions,'' it will be putting itself outside the international legal framework.

Last Wednesday, the UN Security Council failed to bridge divisions over the future of Kosovo, whose drive for independence has been backed by the West and firmly opposed by Serbia and its ally Russia.

Western countries have said the EU and NATO should take over police duties in Kosovo from the United Nations, which administered the region since NATO's 1999 bombing campaign that ended the conflict between Serb forces and ethnic Albanian separatists.

Some other Security Council members, including Cyprus and Greece, have also voiced opposition to an unilateral declaration of sovereignty by Kosovo, fearing this could set a precedent for other separatist regions.

UNI

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