Russia calls for UN SC's emergency session on Kosovo

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Moscow, Feb 13 (UNI) Russia today called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss the Kosovo issue as early as this week.

''Hopefully, a Security Council meeting will take place within the next few days,'' Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry told Interfax news agency today.

The idea of Security Council's emergency session on Kosovo was proposed by Serbia and backed by Russia, he said.

Albanian Kosovars have said that Kosovo could proclaim independence as early as February 17.

''Since they are already talking about it openly, the Security Council should step in,'' Botsan-Kharchenko said, adding talks are underway on a possible date for the emergency session.

''At the meeting we will once again voice our stance on the Kosovo issue and will call on our partners to think twice,'' he said.

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin sent a letter to the Security Council's president yesterday supporting Serbia's appeal to reconsider the situation in its provinces of Kosovo and Metohija, where final arrangements are being made to declare Kosovo's independence.

Russia, which categorically opposes the unilateral independence of Serbia's province, is insisting on the continuance of negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade to work out a roadmap.

Kosovo has been a UN protectorate since the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia ended a conflict between Albanian and Serb forces in 1999.

UNI XC AKJ HS1753

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