Russia's UN envoy urges new Kosovo talks

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has expressed his belief that only a new dialog could produce a long-term solution for Kosovo's status.

(KosovoCompromise Staff) Friday, July 16, 2010

"Russia supports renewed negotiations between Serb and (ethnic) Albanian leaderships, and I truly believe they will be renewed," said the diplomat.

Kosovo's Albanians unilaterally declared independence over two years ago, but Belgrade rejected this as an illegal act of secession. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is due to rule next week on the legality under international law of that proclamation.

Speaking for Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti in Moscow, Churkin said that that it was important for the UN Security Council to control the situation in Kosovo, and stressed that a long-term solution for the province's status has yet to be found.

He expressed hope that the Kosovo Albanian government in Pristina would accept the Serbian offer to engage in new talks on Kosovo's status.

"That is the only reasonable approach, and that road can lead to a long-term solution that would satisfy both sides," Churkin was quoted as saying.

The Russian envoy to the UN did not wish to make any predictions on the outcome of the ICJ case, but noted that Russia backed Serbia when the country sought to send the case to the court.

"Our position is clear: Russia remains opposed to the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo. That was our statement to the court (ICJ): we presented our stance that the territory of Kosovo is a sovereign part of Serbia," said Churkin.

Asked about international activities after the Hague-based UN court reveals its advisory opinion on Kosovo, he said that when Russia takes over as the presiding country at the UN Security Council in August, "this will be a chance to discuss Kosovo again".

On August 3, Churkin added, the council will debate a new report on Kosovo, that will be submitted by the UN secretary-general.

"It's a good thing to arrive at a more realistic picture, so I still believe others too will realize that negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina should be renewed," the Russian diplomat was quoted.