Lavrov says Russia and U.S. still at odds on Kosovo

Published on February 23, 2007, ABC News

Category: Growing International Opposition to Imposed Solution

Feb 3, 2007 — MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow and Washington still disagree over the future of Serbia's Kosovo province, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday.

Speaking to Russian news agencies after a visit to the United States, Lavrov said Kosovo was the key point of disagreement between the two countries.

"We still have no common vision of how this problem should be solved," Lavrov told Interfax news agency.

"Kosovo is a subject where our disagreement is deepest, unlike our positions on Iran, Iraq and the Middle East."

On Friday, United Nations envoy Martti Ahtisaari unveiled a plan to set Kosovo on a path to independence, an outcome the province's majority Albanians applauded but Belgrade rejected.

In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel published on Saturday, Lavrov said Ahtisaari's proposals should not be seen as an ultimatum but as a basis to continue talks on Kosovo.

"Any attempts to submit these proposals to the U.N. Security Council would be futile and counterproductive," he said. "Russia rigidly adheres to all agreements on Kosovo."

Lavrov added Russian President Vladimir Putin had never said he would use Moscow's veto at the Security Council over Kosovo, but that it would be unprecedented in post-war history if it were granted independence without "mutual consent."

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