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28 Sep, 2007 18:59

Unilateral decision on Kosovo would lead to instability: Russian FM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has touched upon a number of international issues in his address at the 62nd UN General Assembly, including amongst other things, the status of Serbia's breakaway republic of Kosovo and the Palestine problem.

In his speech Mr Lavrov focused on the role of the UN, and how this role needs to be strengthened, saying that the international body should be working actively to resolve resolving global issues like the increased threat of terrorism and a possible spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Russia's Foreign Minister also said the United Nations needs to lend additional support to aid a war-torn Iraq. He also encouraged the UN to engage Iran in constructive efforts to resolve international issues regarding Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Palestine and Kosovo under scrutiny

Russian FM insists on constructive alternative with the U.S. on ABMs

Putin-Bush relations contribute to good Russia-U.S. ties

Lavrov: UN and Eurasian Economic Community ties need to be strengthened

Palestine and Kosovo under scrutiny

Russian Foreign Minister touched on the problem of the status of Serbia's breakaway republic of Kosovo in his speech:

“The settlement of the Kosovo problem is only possible within the framework of international law based on negotiations. Unilateral steps will not lead to a lasting peace and will create a risk of destabilisation in the Balkans and other regions”.

Kosovo was a big topic at the UN on Friday as it was the first time that officials from Serbia and from Kosovo had sat down for a face-to-face meeting. It was moderated by the so-called Troika – the UN envoys from the European Union, Russia and the U.S.

Serbian officials were proposing sustainable and substantial autonomy to Kosovo’s Albanians and the latter were pushing for complete sovereignty. Both sides agreed to refrain from violence or intimidation as the negotiations concerning Kosovo's status continue.

A similar meeting is also scheduled to take place on October 14 in Brussels. Following the talks the U.S. diplomats say that it had been a great opportunity to lay the foundations for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

“Acknowledging that violence, provocation and intimidation would constitute a grave risk for the Troika process as well as for the stability and security of the region, both parties reaffirm their commitment as expressed in the Vienna document of August 30 to refrain from any activities or statements that might jeopardise the security situation,” said Frank Wisner, envoy of the U.S.

The Russian delegation says there is a good chance a compromise might be reached in the negotiations.

“Both parties seriously think of how to establish trust and co-operation. I would not like to sound over-enthusiastic and to over-estimate the outcome of this face-to-face session. These signs are not a foundation for any kind of compromise or agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, but I could say that there is a foundation for continued face-to-face discussions. The parties demonstrate their abilities to talk to each other. They seriously think about future and there is no intention to turn back,” stated Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko, Russia's Troika envoy.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin touched upon Russia's position on the future of Kosovo speaking at a media briefing in Sochi.

“Regarding Kosovo, the position of the Russian Federation has not changed recently. We stand for the earliest possible start of a direct dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. We don't consider it sensible to limit future negotiations and put them in a Procrustean bed of a time schedule. We think it should be a free dialogue, the aim of which should be a search for an acceptable compromise for both sides. We will maintain contact with all the participants of the process, in the first place at the UN. We will also be in constant contact with both the European Union and the United States,” he said.

The UN Troika mediating Kosovo talks is to report the results to the United Nations on December 10.
Mr Lavrov also focused on the Middle East Quartet issue in his address at the United Nations.

“Early solution of the Palestine problem based on the two-state concept in achieving the comprehensive Middle East settlement underpinned by the UN-developed international legal platform is next on the agenda. We are convinced that this goal can be achieved by holding a representative international conference preceded by thorough preparation. We consider the U.S. initiative to convene a multi-party meeting in November on the Middle East settlement as an important step in this direction. We appreciate the preliminary considerations of the American side regarding the agenda and composition of this event. We reaffirm the importance of its preparation with the involvement of the quartet of international mediators, as well as the Arab League,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.

Russian FM insists on constructive alternative with the U.S. on ABMs

Sergey Lavrov also said that Russia’s proposal on anti-missile defence will lead to a strong strategic partnership with the U.S.:

“The joint initiative of the presidents of Russia and the U.S. put forward at the meeting in Kennebunkport calls to start joint practical work in this field. We are confident that peace should be based on the willingness to co-operate, especially on matters directly affecting strategic stability. In this context we cannot neglect unilateral plans in the area of missile defence. President Putin has proposed a constructive alternative. Collaborative work with the participation of Russia, the U.S., Europe and subsequently other countries could lead to a general global strategic alliance within the entire Euro-Atlantic region, which would allow us to move forward in setting up an open system of collective security”.

Putin-Bush relations contribute to good Russia-U.S. ties

The Russian Foreign Minister spoke about the relations between Russia and the U.S. As the two countries are celebrating 200 years of diplomatic dialogue, he attributed the good ties between them to the good relationship President George Bush has with Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin. Mr Lavrov also noted that the two countries have a constructive long-term partnership. With regard to Iran, the Russian Foreign Minister said neither Russia nor the U.S., nor indeed most other countries are against nuclear weapons, but the fact is that each country has a different way of voicing its opinion on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Mr Lavrov also spoke of September 11, 2001 and how Russia aided the U.S. doing whatever it could to help the victims of 9/11. Vladimir Putin was the first world leader to reach out to President Bush following the attack of that day.

Lavrov: UN and Eurasian Economic Community ties need to be strengthened

Mr Lavrov said he would like to see more co-operation between the UN and the Eurasian Economic Community.

“Russia intends to use its current presidency at the Eurasian EC to give a more practical focus to the organisation, which since 2003 has had observer status at the UN General Assembly. Russia, along with the other co-authors, will submit a draft resolution on co-operation between the UN and the Eurasian EC to the General Assembly.” he said.