Russia rejects Kosovo's independence

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Moscow, Feb 19 (UNI) Russia does not accept Pristina's unilateral actions on declaring Kosovo's independence, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a telephonic conversation with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today.

The telephonic conversation between the two sides was initiated by the US, Russian Foreign Ministry said.

''We have confirmed our principal position on non-acceptance of Pristina's unilateral actions on declaration of the region's independence,'' Itar-Tass quoted Lavrov as saying.

He stressed that this step may bring about destruction of the age-old rules of world order and international stability.

In a similar statement, Russia's first deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence will destroy the entire system of international law and cause a chain reaction of identical moves.

''I am convinced that the recognition of Kosovo sets a precedent.

The system of international law that we have lived under for more than a century is being undermined,'' RIA Novosti news agency quoted Ivanov as saying.

He also said that the declaration would open a Pandora's box of declarations of independence as de-facto independent republics across the world asked themselves the question, ''How are we any different?'' Meanwhile, Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen Yury Baluyevsky said today that the proclamation of Kosovo's independence ''violates agreements reached in Yalta in 1945 and Helsinki in 1973 on the inviolability of borders.'' He also noted that many countries with their own separatist problems, such as China, Indonesia and Spain, could not recognise the independence of Kosovo because they were worried about the rise of separatist trends within their own borders.

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