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Russia reiterates support to united Serbia

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : Russia has said that its support to Serbia’s efforts to regain its territorial integrity is in accordance with international law.

“It is unacceptable that for the first time in the post-war history, a country (Serbia), which is a member of the United Nations, has been divided in violation of all principles used in resolving territorial conflicts,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday in an interview with Russia’s Vesti 24 television.

Kosovo’s parliament unilaterally adopted Feb 17 a declaration of independence from Serbia. Belgrade has called the decision illegal and is demanding it be cancelled. However, the US and some other Western countries have recognised Kosovo’s independence.

“We are actively supporting Belgrade’s demands to restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Lavrov said, adding that the unilateral recognition of Kosovo’s independence would have a negative impact on other regional conflicts, including those in the Middle East.

He also expressed concern over attempts by some political forces to replace the UN as the main mediator in international conflicts.

“Someone is willing to use the Kosovo precedent to see whether it is possible to shift the centre of decision-making to a different place naming NATO as such. This is a most dangerous game,” he said.

He also accused the European Union (EU) of double standard in the settlement of the Kosovo conflict.

“Their (the EU) logic is quite funny – after destroying territorial integrity of a legitimate state (Serbia), they say they are determined to protect territorial integrity of an illegal formation (Kosovo),” the minister said.

Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also reaffirmed Monday that Moscow would maintain a firm stand on territorial integrity of Serbia.

“We believe that Serbia is a unified state, whose jurisdiction extends over its whole territory, and we will maintain this position in the future,” Medvedev said at the talks with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica in Belgrade.

Medvedev, who is the Kremlin’s front-runner in the March 2 presidential elections, said that Russia and Serbia would coordinate their efforts to resolve the current political crisis over Kosovo’s independence.