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UN court decision on Kosovo will not change Moscow's stance - ministry

RIA Novosti

21:35 22/07/2010

MOSCOW, July 22 (RIA Novosti) - A ruling on Thursday by the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia was legal will not affect Russia's position on the issue, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

ICJ president Hisashi Owada said international law "contains no applicable prohibition" of Kosovo's declaration of independence and that the court had ruled that "the declaration of independence on 17 February 2008 did not violate general international law."

"Our position on our non-recognition of Kosovo's independence remains the same," the ministry's statement said.

Russia has always been strongly opposed to Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence.

Kosovo called the decision a "great victory," adding that it represents "a new chapter in the victory of justice."

"My message to the government of Serbia is 'Come and talk to us," Kosovo's Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni said.

Serbia had claimed that Kosovo's secession violated its territorial integrity.

The court's ruling was non-binding.

Kosovo's independence was supported by the U.S. and a large number of EU states, while Russia has always maintained its strong opposition.

Ten of the court's judges supported the opinion, while four opposed it.

Moscow says the issue can be solved by talks based on UN Security Council resolution 1244.

"We are ready to continue to contribute actively to this," the ministry said.

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