Russia, NATO in row over Kosovo, NATO expansion

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on Monday asked Russia not to
block a United Nations Security Council resolution
which may lead to the independence of Kosovo but a
senior Russian legislator said it will use its veto.

“It is highly probable that Russia will veto the U.N.
Security Council resolution granting independence to
Kosovo,” Chairman Sergei Mironov of the Federation
Council, the upper house of Russian parliament said in
a Ekho Moskvy radio program.

NATO expects to solve the Kosovo issue at the United
Nations as soon as possible by adopting the UN
resolution consisting of Martti Ahtisaari’s plan,
Scheffer was quoted by Russian news agencies as
saying.

U.N. Kosovo envoy Martti Ahtisaari has proposed
internationally supervised independence for Kosovo, a
move backed by the United States, most EU countries
and Kosovo’s Albanian leaders but rejected by Serbia
and its traditional ally Russia.

Moscow insisted that the future status of the Serbian
province should be decided after all concerned sides,
especially Serbia, have agreed on it.

“We suggest continuing talks and look for settlement
together. One should not forestall events and create
prerequisites for Kosovo’s independence,” said
Mironov, who also voiced concern at NATO’s eastward
expansion.

“Russia is concerned by a geographic expansion of
NATO, which has no grounds,” the parliament leader was
quoted as saying at a Russian-NATO conference held on
Monday in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Scheffer, however, said the alliance’s enlargement was
not a threat to Russia and there’s no talks on
membership with the former Soviet republic Georgia.

Russia has been worried about the enlargement of NATO
as it has admitted 10 former Eastern Bloc states,
including three former Soviet Baltic republics, since
early 1990s.

Kosovo, with 90 percent of its population made up of
ethnic Albanians, has been run by the United Nations
since 1999.

Its future status talks between Kosovo’s Albanian
majority and Serbian authorities were first officially
launched in November 2005, but ended in vain.

Source: Xinhua

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