Tibet violence linked to recognition of Kosovo independence : Russ

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Moscow, Mar 18 (UNI) The recent violence in Tibet is inextricably linked to the recognition of Kosovo's independence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

''The recognition of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence by many countries, including the US and the majority of EU states, had already reverberated in many regions,'' the Rossiiskaya Gazeta quoted Mr Lavrov as saying today.

The Kosovo issue was linked to the recent riots in Tibet and demanded for greater autonomy by ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, he added.

There were reasons to presume that this was not occurring by chance, Mr Lavrov said, adding, ''You can see what is happening in China's autonomous region of Tibet, how the separatists there are acting.'' ''The Albanians in Macedonia are already demanding a level of autonomy that is a clear step towards independence. Furthermore, events in other areas of the world give us grounds to assume that we are only at the beginning of a very precarious process,'' he said.

The foreign minister said attempts were continuing in Kosovo to force people to live in a state that had been illegally formed.

Reiterating the stance of Russia and Serbia that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence was a ''blatant breach of international law,'' he called the encouragement of separatist tendencies ''immoral.'' UNI XC SYU RK1705

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