Russia never to allow Kosovo to become a UN member : Lavrov

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Moscow, Apr 2 (UNI) Stressing that Russia will continue legal debate over Kosovo's status, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today declared that Moscow will never allow Kosovo to become a UN member.

''We will continue to consistently support the actions of the Serbs in clarifying the illegality of giving Kosovo sovereign status and to bring the Kosovo issue back into the international legal process,'' he said while addressing a session of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

He added Russia would work with like-minded states to ensure that the issue of the province's status is reconsidered.

Mr Lavrov said Russia has been closely cooperating with Serbia and other states that share its position on Kosovo.

''Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is capable of ensuring that Kosovo does not become a fully-fledged member of the United Nations,'' he claimed, pointing out that Russian envoys to international organisations would make sure that Kosovo does not join any of them.

''There are many international organisations within and outside the UN, and each has its own procedure for admitting new members.

Everywhere where our envoys work, we will fully use these procedures to show the unlawfulness of Kosovo's unilateral independence,'' he stressed.

The Minister said Russian President Vladimir Putin would raise the Kosovo issue at the NATO-Russia summit opening in Bucharest, Romania today.

So far, a total of 36 countries have recognised Kosovo as a sovereign state since its unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17, including the United States and 18 European Union members.

Russia strongly opposed the unilateral declaration of independence and backed Belgrade's position that Kosovo would always remain a part of Serbia.

Meanwhile, Russia dispatched a cargo plane today with its first shipment of 40 tons of humanitarian aid to Serb areas of Kosovo and plans to send three more flights by April 10 with humanitarian supplies worth 1.7 million dollars.

Mr Lavrov said Russia is ''far from indifferent over whether a geopolitical situation develops around Russia and throughout Europe with a comfortable atmosphere for integration, investment and trade, or whether crisis zones flare up, or new frozen conflicts are created, undermining constructive partnership''.


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