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Russia Mum On Kosovo Vote


http://gdb.rferl.org/8198C689-53F4-4F80-B5A3-109018E85365_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/8198C689-53F4-4F80-B5A3-109018E85365_mw800_mh600.jpg Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (OSCE) March 27, 2007 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has refused to reveal how Moscow will vote on a UN resolution recommending internationally supervised independence for Kosovo.


Speaking after talks with Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Rocen in Moscow today, Lavrov said it is "too early to say who is going to vote, and how."


The UN Security Council is expected to debate the plan proposed by UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari next month.


Russia, which holds veto power in the Security Council, has firmly opposed the plan.


Separately, Lavrov said today that the latest UN resolution on Iran leaves the door open for a resumption of talks on its nuclear program:


"We hope the Iranian leadership will respond adequately to those signals contained in the resolution recently adopted by the Security Council," Lavrov said. "


The Security Council resolution is designed exactly to help resume negotiations. It is not an instrument for punishing Iran," he added


On March 24, Russia backed the new UN resolution, which passed unanimously in the Security Council. It imposes expanded sanctions against Iran for its failure to heed international demands to freeze uranium enrichment.


(compiled from agency reports)


The Kremlin Looks At Kosovo...And Beyond
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) greets Serbian President Boris Tadic in the Kremlin in November 2005 (TASS)

WILL THE KREMLIN BACK INDEPENDENCE? As the drive for independence grows in the Serbian province of Kosovo, the international community is speculating on how Russia, a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, will act. On September 22, Nicholas Whyte, director of the International Crisis Group's Europe Program, gave a briefing on the subject at RFE/RL's Washington, D.C., office. He speculated on what the Kremlin's "price" might be for agreeing to Kosovo's separation from Serbia.


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