Putin warns Bush against imposing Kosovo solution

Published on April 3, 2007, Agence France Presse

Category: Growing International Opposition to Imposed Solution

President Vladimir Putin voiced Russia's opposition to imposing a resolution on Kosovo against Serbia's will in a phone conversation with US President George W. Bush on Wednesday, the Kremlin said.

"On Kosovo the Russian side confirmed its principled position against imposing on the sides any kinds of scenario -- so that a solution is worked out that would be acceptable both to Belgrade and Pristina," the Kremlin said in a statement after the phone call, which was initiated by the White House.

Russia, a veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council, has repeatedly objected to a plan for supervised independence for the Serbian province of Kosovo put forward by UN mediator Martti Ahtisaari.

Moscow has insisted that any solution must be agreeable to Serbia as well as Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority.

Belgrade has rejected independence for Kosovo, calling instead for more negotiations.

Russia has close ties with Serbia and strongly objected to NATO's bombing of the then Yugoslavia in 1999 to stop a Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanian guerrillas in Kosovo.

The United Nations has administered the province since the NATO bombing helped to drive out Serb forces.

Ahtisaari's plan is to be debated next month by the Security Council, which must approve Kosovo's future status.

On Tuesday the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement: "The creation of an independent state of Kosovo will impose severe and serious complications on the stability of Europe."

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