17 January 2007

Putin Saids Russia Only Supports Principled Solution Applied to Belgrade and Kosovo

Status Proposal Won't Fly in UNSC, If not Acceptable to Serbia, Says Putin?
Radio Television Serbia, January 15, 2007
President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica on Monday. “In the course of the conversation, practical issues of Russian-Serbian cooperation were touched upon, including in the energy and investment spheres,” the Kremlin press service said. “While discussing the situation in the Balkans and the Kosovo settlement in particular, Putin confirmed Russia’s principled position with regard to the resolution of the Kosovo problem,” the press service said.
According to the Serbian PM, Russian President Putin has reiterated that Ahtisaari’s proposal cannot receive support of the UN SC, if it is not acceptable to Belgrade. Kostunica stated that Putin had once again repeated the Russian principled stand that the solution to the future status of Kosovo must be in line with the international law and the UN Charter, which means that it must stem from the principle of inviolability of territorial integrity and sovereignty of the existing states. Kostunica says that Serbia at this crucial moment enjoys a clear and principled support of President Putin and the Russian people. According to the Serbian PM, Putin stressed that the Kosovo solution must be based on clear and universal principles and underscored that Belgrade must take an active part in the upcoming talks. Kostunica thanked the Russian President and added that the Serbian people would certainly appreciate the Russian support. The Serbian PM points out that Putin’s statement that Russia only recognizes universal solutions has brought about a turnaround in debates on the Kosovo future. “That was a breaking point in every meaning of that term,” said Kostunica.
RTS reports that almost at the same time the EU Special Envoy for the Kosovo status process Stephan Lehne met with the Russian Deputy FM Vladimir Titov in Moscow. The Russian diplomat reiterated that Moscow was in favour of an agreed solution to the future status of Kosovo in line with the international law. “The Russian side emphasizes the importance of a continued search for an efficient agreement between Belgrade and Pristina and of the continuation of status process without any artificial timeframes,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated. The statement underlines that Pristina should invest more efforts towards meeting the international standards related to the ethnic minority rights and the return of refugees and displaced persons. The Russian Foreign Ministry has stressed that the Kosovo Albanian leadership bears the main responsibility for preventing extremists from taking actions in Kosovo.