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Serbia rejects Kosovo-EU linkage - envoy

Serbia's accession to the EU must not be predicated on the resolution of the Kosovo problem, the country's ambassador to Russia said Tuesday.

„Serbia's admission to the EU and the resolution of the Kosovo problem are absolutely different things. We do not want them to be interconnected or made contingent on something,” Stanimir Vukicevic told a news conference in Moscow. He said Kosovo was not a bargaining chip and that Serbia was ready to settle the Kosovo problem through dialogue and compromise with the Albanian side. Vukicevic warned that the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution that does not take Serbia's position into account would destabilize the situation in the region.

Asked what would happen if Russia vetoed a UN resolution on Kosovo, he said no UN Security Council member would want any country to use its veto power in that situation. „A veto would mean that a compromise solution has not been achieved. Diplomacy must be patient,” he said. The Russian and German foreign ministers will discuss a Kosovo settlement in Berlin July 20, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Veto-wielding Moscow will reject a new resolution of the UN Security Council, which proposes granting Kosovo independence without Serbia's consent, the Russian envoy to the UN said earlier Tuesday.

The latest draft resolution on Kosovo, proposed by the United States, Britain and France, gives Belgrade and Pristina four months to settle their differences. If they fail to agree, Kosovo is to be granted independence without the approval of Belgrade, in accordance with the revised proposal of UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari. „We believe that Ahtisaari's plan is flawed. New impartial talks are needed with a new independent mediator. We have informed the UN of this,” Russia's Vitaly Churkin said after a closed session of the UN Security Council.

He said that the plan did not solve the „key issues,” adding that „the co-authors say that it is the last chance and they cannot do anything else,” but he said he hoped Ahtisaari's proposal would be reviewed once more. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia has repeatedly said a solution must be based on a compromise between Belgrade and Pristina, and that the position of ethnic minorities in the region should also be considered. (en.rian.ru)