Russian MP cautions Kosovo against unilateral secession from Serbia.

A senior Russian lawmaker on Thursday cautioned Serbia's predominantly Albanian province of Kosovo against unilaterally declaring its independence.

Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the international affairs committee in Russia's lower house of parliament, said, "The determination of Kosovo's status, as long as the province does not commit itself to human rights standards and is seeking sovereignty unilaterally rather than through negotiations, creates a highly dangerous precedent and runs counter to Europe's postwar order."

Speaking after a meeting with Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku in Moscow, the Russian MP said the underlying principle of the European order established after WWII is the inadmissibility of changing state borders unless all involved parties give their consent.

Ceku, visiting Russia with a delegation of Kosovo interim government officials, reiterated his determination to further push for the province's independence and to secure its recognition as a sovereign state by the UN Security Council and other international organizations, Kosachev said.

He said the Kosovar premier is willing to take a course toward the region's "asymmetric decentralization," preserving the Serb language's official status and guaranteeing the Serb minority fair representation in the legislature.

The premier said 82% of the province's Serb population live in ethnic communities, and could be granted wide autonomy at the municipal level, with the right to form police forces based on the ethnic principle.

On Tuesday, thousands of Kosovar Albanians attacked the United Nations headquarters in the capital, Pristina, over a delayed decision on their demand of independence for Kosovo, a UN protectorate since NATO's military intervention in 1999.

The province's final status was to have been determined this year, but a decision has now been put off until after a general election in Serbia on January 21.

[Source: Russian News & Information Agency - Novosti, Moscow, 30Nov06]

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