Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (OSCE)
February 22, 2007 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia will not be part of any effort to force Serbia to recognize independence for Kosovo.
Speaking at a Berlin news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Lavrov warned that "only two sides" can make a decision on Kosovo and "no one can impose" a solution.
"A decision on Kosovo can be made only by the parties themselves," Lavrov said. "No one can impose a solution. In any event, Russia will not be part of such a scheme."
UN Kosovo envoy Martti Ahtisaari has proposed limited statehood for the province but not full independence.
"Of course, I respect Martti Ahtisaari," Lavrov said. "We have known each other very well for a long time. But it is not up to him to decide whether or not the time for making a decision has run out. Mr. Ahtisaari is carrying out a mandate given to him by the UN secretary-general and the Security Council to provide mediation between the parties in the Kosovo settlement process."
Moscow has consistently opposed a final-status solution for Kosovo that is not acceptable to both Belgrade and Pristina.