Russia not to use force to solve Kosovo problem: Envoy to NATO

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Moscow, Feb 25 (UNI) Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin has said Moscow will never use force to solve the Kosovo problem.

''This will never take place,'' Mr Rogozin said in an interview on the Russian Vesti TV channel, referring to the issue of Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on February 17.

Quoting Mr Rogozin's recent statement on Kosovo's declaration of indenpedence, some media reports said that he favoured use of force to restore international law, which prompted an angry reaction from Washington.

Mr Rogozin said he would advise US representatives to use reliable rather than dubious information sources. He stressed Russia will defend its position on Kosovo in the UN Security Council as its permanent member.

Russian Foreign Ministry yesterday slammed as 'cynical' the US position on Kosovo.

''The support of one Kosovo Albanian side, negligence of law in favour of the so-called political expediency, indifference to the fates of one hundred thousand Serbs who are actually being driven into the ghetto in the 21st century are nothing else but open cynicism,'' the Ministry said in a statement after remarks by US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, who earlier called Russia's stance on Kosovo as irresponsible.

Meanwhile, presidential candidate Dmitry Medvedev widely tipped to succeed current President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Putin is due to arrive in Serbia after March 2 presidential poll, as the two countries continue to oppose Kosovan independence.

Mr Medvedev is travelling to Belgrade, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Observers said here Mr Medvedev's trip to Belgrade along with Lavrov is a sign of the strength of Russia's backing for Serbia.

Medvedev and Lavrov are scheduled to hold talks with Serbian President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica.

UNI XC RJ HS1733

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