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Russia Warns Against 'Unacceptable' UN Kosovo Resolution

Lavrov (left) With Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica in Belgrade in April (epa) July 9, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says any resolution on Kosovo that is not acceptable to both Belgrade and Pristina will not pass in the UN Security Council, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

Speaking at a press conference in Bishkek, Lavrov said: "Our position is well-known and dictated by life and international law rather than by any artificial schemes. Any decision on Kosovo is possible only on the basis of an agreement by both parties involved. Any other resolution cannot pass the UN Security Council."

Lavrov did not say whether Russia would use its Security Council veto power to block resolutions considered unacceptable by Belgrade.

The United States and European members of the Security Council have drafted a resolution that would delay by four months a proposal to give Kosovo gradual independence from Serbia.

Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian majority wants independence, but it is opposed by the province's minority Serbs.

In an interview with today's "Financial Times," Kosovar Prime Minister Agim Ceku said the province's ethnic-Albanian leadership would not declare independence this year without the backing of the United States and the European Union.

Ceku separately appealed to the United States to set a date for the province's independence from Serbia, saying Russia had blocked its path through the United Nations. Ceku made the remarks as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried arrived in the provincial capital Pristina to discuss Russia's opposition to supervised independence for Kosovo.

Fried said on July 8 that the United States wants to cooperate with Russia on the issue, but that independence should be the final result of the process.

UCK Veterans Threaten Return To Arms

Meanwhile, veterans of Kosovo's guerrilla war have said they are ready to take up arms again if the province is not granted independence from Serbia.

The statement by the veterans of the ethnic-Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) was published in several Kosovar newspapers on July 8.

They called on Kosovo's parliament to declare independence and warned international bodies running the territory -- mainly the United Nations -- not to block the process.

(compiled from agency reports)