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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kosovo Resolution Tweaked

PRISTINA, Serbia -- A draft UN resolution on Kosovo will "support" rather than "endorse" a United Nations blueprint for a Kosovo state, in a softening of language to address Russian concerns, diplomatic and political sources said.

The draft is a revised version of a resolution presented last month by the West that would allow Kosovo's 2 million ethnic Albanians to declare independence eight years after NATO wrested control of the territory from Serbia.

It was due to be circulated later Thursday or Friday.

"The main change will be in the wording of paragraph OP1, in which the Security Council would not 'endorse' the provisions of [UN envoy Martti] Ahtisaari's comprehensive proposal, but only 'support' them," a senior Western diplomat said.

Diplomats said the tweak in language alone was unlikely to overcome Russian opposition.

But a senior UN official in Kosovo said it was all part of crafting a resolution vague enough to allow individual countries the choice of whether to recognize Kosovo as the last state to emerge from Yugoslavia.

Political sources in Kosovo said Western UN diplomats were also looking at a Russian proposal for a special envoy to deal with the return of thousands of Serbian refugees.

Clause 6 of the draft UN text -- which states that current Resolution 1244 would be replaced -- remains the key sticking point.

Resolution 1244 was adopted in June 1999 after 78 days of NATO bombing forced the pullout of Serbian forces. Crucially, it affirms the sovereignty of Yugoslavia, a defunct state to which Serbia is the legal successor. Russia says the provisions of Resolution 1244 have not been implemented, and has dangled the threat of using its UN veto.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday called for more negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo's 90 percent Albanian majority, something that Western countries say would be futile.