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Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin (file photo) (official site)
UNITED NATIONS, April 13, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The UN Security Council has agreed to a Russian proposal to send a fact-finding mission to the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo before deciding on its final status.
"We are looking forward to this mission going to the area before the end of the month," Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told journalists today. "And we are looking forward to receiving a briefing from the [UN] Secretariat on the implementation of Resolution 1244 before the mission leaves New York."
Churkin said the head of the mission and its members will be announced shortly.
Russia was pushing strongly in the Security Council for this fact-finding mission as a way of finding a final-status solution that Belgrade could support.
Three permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States, Britain, and France -- are supporting the recommendation of the UN's special envoy for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, that Kosovo be given the status of "supervised independence." Serbia has rejected Ahtisaari's plan.
The other two permanent council members -- Russia and, to an extent, China -- object to Ahtisaari's recommendation.
A final decision on Kosovo's status is expected to be put to vote before the summer.