Putin on Kosovo: Timeframes unviable.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday it was "irresponsible to overlook" the territorial integrity of countries.

"It is irresponsible to disregard the principle of territorial integrity of states," Putin said, addressing the Kosovo status crisis, and added that Moscow was "urging a direct dialogue between Priština and Belgrade, aimed at a compromise acceptable to both sides."

The principle of territorial integrity of states, defended by Russia with respect to Kosovo, concerns many European states, the Russian president said.

"It is extremely irresponsible to overlook this principle," Itar-Tass reported the Putin as saying.

He was addressing a news conference in Sochi following a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero.

Putin added setting of timeframes for Kosovo talks was "not viable" and urged direct dialogue between the two sides.

Russia's position on Kosovo is unchanged, Putin said, and added that "the dialogue should remain free," and that its aim is "a compromise acceptable to both sides."

The Russian head of state called on the international community "not to decry the principle of territorial integrity of states," and voiced Moscow's readiness to continues its work with all the participants in the Kosovo process, as well as with the United States and the European Union, under UN aegis.

[Source: B92, Moscow, 29Sep07]

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