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Russia Demands Agreed, Not Forced, Kosovo Status --> Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (official site) 7 November 2005 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that his country would support any status of Kosovo that was agreed by both Belgrade and Pristina.

Lavrov said during a visit to Belgrade that there can be no forced solution for Kosovo. Lavrov made his remarks after a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Vuk Draskovic at the start of a two-day official visit.

Draskovic said Serbia does not intend to impose its rule over the Albanian majority in the UN-administered province. But he said Kosovar Albanians do not have the right to change the internationally recognized borders of the state.

Lavrov's visit comes as preparations are under way for the start of UN-sponsored talks on the future status of Kosovo.

Serbia rejects the idea of an independent Kosovo, which is what the province's ethnic Albanian majority wants. Kosovo has been under UN administration since the 1999 NATO air war to halt a Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanians.

(compiled from wire reports)