"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.
Russian Opposition Threatens Kosovo Plan
U.S. experts consider the UN final-status plan "inevitable," while Moscow argues it is "one-sided and unhelpful." more
Russia's Star On The Rise
"Russian foreign policy today is such that for the first time in its history, Russia is beginning to protect its national interest by using its competitive advantages," Foriegn Minister Sergei Lavrov said. more
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.
LISTENListen to the entire briefing (about 45 minutes):
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