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Kosovo wants to be consulted on Russian aid to Serbs

RIA Novosti

26/03/2008 16:50 BELGRADE, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia should discuss with Pristina proposed deliveries of humanitarian aid to Kosovo, the independent province's Prime Minister Hasim Taci said in an interview with the Zeri newspaper on Wednesday.

"Kosovo is an independent, sovereign state, and has its own legitimate institutions. Serbs are Kosovan nationals and form part of these legitimate democratic institutions. Therefore everything should go through these institutions as soon as agreements are reached," Taci said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia would provide humanitarian aid to crisis-hit Serb areas in Kosovo in line with a request from Serbia's government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the president earlier this week that Serbia had requested medicine, medical equipment, long-life foods and hygiene products.

Kosovo, with a 90% ethnic Albanian majority, has been recognized as a sovereign state by the United States, most European Union members, and several other countries since it proclaimed independence on February 17. Russia has sided with Belgrade, which says Kosovo will always remain a part of its territory.

Serb-dominated areas account for about 15% of Kosovo's territory. Belgrade proposed to the UN Security Council on Monday that Serbs take full control over the ethnic-Serb regions from UN peacekeepers.

Tensions have escalated lately in Kosovo's Serb regions as rioters clashed with peacekeepers last week in the city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, leaving one Ukrainian peacekeeper dead and injuring dozens of civilians and police officers.

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