Forcing Kos Serbs to accept indep will provoke situation: Russia

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Moscow, Mar 5 (UNI) Russia has warned the West that forcing the Serbs living in Kosovo to accept unilateral declaration of independence will further provoke the situation in the province.

''Tension continues in the province resulting from Pristina's unilateral declaration of independence,'' the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement, referring to the present situation after the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo on February 17.

''Serb residents flatly refuse to reconcile themselves to the illegal sovereignisation. Their protests are widening, especially in areas of compact settlement in the province's north and in southern enclaves,'' Mr Kamynin said.

''Kosovo Serbs ignore the institutions of power being implanted by Pristina, as well as the EU Mission illegally deployed in the province,'' he claimed.

''Serb members of the Kosovo Police Service refuse to recognise its leadership, which they regard as a part of Pristina's illegitimate executive bodies being formed,'' he said, adding ''For this they are being made to resign from service.'' ''There are calls being made by supporters of Kosovo's independence on the UN and the international security presence, the Kosovo Force (KFOR), to restore Kosovo Albanian governance in Serb-populated areas and return Albanians to local law enforcement structures and to customs checkpoints on the administrative border with Serbia by any means,'' he pointed out.

''All this evokes our serious concern,'' Mr Kamynin added.

''It is obvious that the attempts at forcibly compelling Kosovo Serbs to reconcile themselves to Kosovo's independence can only provoke a further aggravation of the situation in the province,'' he warned.

Meanwhile, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin today said Moscow insists the international peacekeeping force (KFOR) in Kosovo operates strictly under the UN mandate, and that it shows 'impartiality' and 'objectivity.' ''Impartiality, objectivity and strict compliance with the UN mandate is all that we demand,'' Mr Rogozin told RIA Novosti news agency.

Mr Rogozin said Russia was in possession of 'disturbing' information suggesting ''the Kosovo force could go outside its mandate.'' He added any 'freewheeling' on matters of security in Kosovo was 'inadmissible,' while Russia reserved the right to act ''in accordance with the situation.'' UNI XC RJ DB2005

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