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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lavrov Pans New UN Resolution on Kosovo

Russia dismissed on Thursday the latest UN draft resolution on the future of Kosovo, saying it amounted to the same old Western-backed plan for independence dressed up in new language.

"The problem of a decision on the independence of Kosovo has not been taken off the agenda," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

Lavrov said the latest resolution merely calls for eventual independence for Kosovo under United Nations supervision "behind diplomatic rhetoric."

In a bid to win Russian support, Western nations revised a resolution to call for four months of intensive negotiations between the Serbian province's ethnic Albanian majority and Serb minority without any promise of independence if talks fail, according to a text obtained Wednesday.

Russia had dismissed as unacceptable the previous draft. That version also called for four months of negotiations between the sides on the province's future status -- but it would have authorized an automatic road to independence if there was no agreement, unless the UN Security Council decided otherwise.

Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin called that draft "unacceptable" for a number of reasons, including that with the prospect of independence after four months, Kosovo Albanians would not engage in serious negotiations.

While Kosovo remains a province of Serbia, it has been under UN and NATO administration since a NATO-led air war that halted a Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in 1999. In April, UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari recommended that Kosovo be granted internationally supervised independence -- a proposal strongly supported by the province's ethnic Albanians but vehemently rejected by its Serb minority and by Serbia and Russia.

Russia has repeatedly emphasized that it will not support an outcome opposed by its traditional ally Serbia.

Reuters, AP