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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Kosovo Draft Is Rejected

UNITED NATIONS -- Russia's UN ambassador has dismissed a softened draft resolution for a future Kosovo state and renewed Moscow's threat of a veto.

Western diplomats suggested the Russians were posturing and said they would like to schedule a vote in a few days, but did not rule out that it could take longer.

The draft is a revised version of one circulated in May that would allow Kosovo's 2 million ethnic Albanians to declare independence.

In one change, the Security Council would not "endorse" UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari's blueprint for qualified independence for Kosovo, but only "support" it.

The latest draft also proposes a special UN envoy to deal with the return of thousands of Serbian refugees, another concern of Russia. Moscow is a long-standing ally of Serbia, which fiercely opposes Kosovo's independence.

Russia's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, scoffed at the amendments as being far short of what Moscow was seeking, saying they had "not changed anything as far as we are concerned."

Repeating Moscow's call for more talks between Serbs and Albanians -- dismissed as futile by the West -- Churkin again hinted at a veto of the resolution in its current form.

"I don't like this word [veto] until I receive final instructions, but you are guessing well what is in my mind," he said in answer to a reporter's question Thursday.