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Russia's Lavrov warns against unilateral Kosovo issue solution

RIA Novosti

09/12/2007 14:49 MOSCOW, December 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday that a unilateral solution to the issue of the future status of Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo could provoke further interethnic violence in the region.

During the latest round of negotiations held in Austria last week, Serbia reiterated offers for the province's broad autonomy, while Kosovo, a UN protectorate since 1999, continued to insist on full independence.

Kosovo has earlier threatened to unilaterally declare independence, if no agreement is reached with Serbia.

"The implementation of this scenario could provoke further interethnic contradictions and new violence in the region. Against the background of Kosovo developments, the situation is seen to aggravate considerably in other countries of the region, first of all, in Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. A unilateral solution will inevitably set a precedent for other similar conflicts," Lavrov said in an interview with Cypriot media.

Lavrov said Moscow is especially concerned over the threat that international law as the foundation for stability of interstate relations could be undermined.

On December 7, a group of international mediators in talks on Kosovo submitted to the UN Security Council a report saying that the parties had failed to reach an agreement.

Russia insists that the talks on the status of Serbia's predominantly-Albanian province should continue.

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