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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Calls for Appointment Of New UN Envoy on Kosovo

Security Council chief Igor Ivanov said Sunday that a new United Nations envoy on Kosovo should be appointed in the wake of a deadlock on the plan for the Serbian province's future.

Current envoy Martti Ahtisaari said this month that he would deliver his plan to the UN Security Council by the end of March, despite bitter disagreement between Serbia and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership over the proposal, which would set Kosovo on a path to independence. Ahtisaari said the potential for negotiations was ­exhausted.

Russia, which has veto power in the UN Security Council, opposes Kosovo being split off from Serbia.

Ivanov said that "if there is no agreement, and so far as we understand there isn't, that means it is necessary to continue talks and to appoint a new special representative," Interfax reported.

The comments echoed those a day earlier by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but Lavrov also raised doubts about whether Russia would veto the Ahtisaari plan.

"We cannot be more Serb than the Serbs themselves; we cannot say that in any case we will block any decision that will not suit both parties," he said, ­Interfax reported.

Kosovo has been a UN protectorate since 1999, when NATO airstrikes on Belgrade ended a Serbian crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in the southern province. The UN plan is an attempt to resolve the final major dispute remaining after Yugoslavia's bloody 1990s breakup.

Ahtisaari's plan, which needs UN Security Council approval to take effect, would grant Kosovo supervised statehood and elements of independence, ­including its own army, flag, anthem and constitution. Russia and Serbia have ­objected that it could encourage other independence-minded regions around the world to break away.