Russia urges UN Secy General to make clear his position on Kosovo

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Moscow, Feb 18 (UNI) Russia today urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to make clear his position on the Kosovo's unilateral proclamation of independence yesterday.

''We think he should more clearly define his position. He should adhere to the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolution 1244 on Kosovo,'' the Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Fourth European Department, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko told Interfax news agency, while commenting on the Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Botsan-Kharchenko said Russia will concentrate its efforts on the UN Security Council and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

''The UN Security Council is due to discuss the Kosovo situation and the independence declaration at today's meeting. The declaration breaches OSCE principles, so the organisation will consider it as well,'' he said.

He noted Russia expected ''the head of the UN Mission in Kosovo to invalidate the resolution of the Pristina parliament.'' Answering a question whether the recognition of Kosovan independence by certain countries may have an effect on their relations with Russia, he said, ''We have stated before and say again that the possible recognition of independent Kosovo would be an illegal act.'' The Pristina office of the Russian embassy in Belgrade is still operational so far, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, the Memorial human rights organisation head Arseniy Roginsky said the recognition of an independent Kosovo will set a dangerous precedent and have irreversible consequences.

''To my mind, it would be the best to freeze the Kosovo problem,'' Mr Roginsky said adding, ''Memorial views the possible recognition of an independent Kosovo as a dangerous precedent with serious consequences.'' The chairperson of the Moscow Helsinki Group, the oldest human rights organisation in Russia, Lyudmila Alexeyeva said Kosovo is one of the problems humankind has not learned to resolve.

''This problem cannot be resolved so far. No matter what they do, the solution will not be fair to one side,'' she said.

UNI XC RJ HS1636

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