Kosovo resolution may induce 'chain reaction' - FM official.

A unilateral and imposed approach to the solution of the Kosovo issue would almost certainly result in a chain reaction involving other "frozen conflicts," a Russian Foreign Ministry official said Friday.

Russia has repeatedly said that sovereignty for the UN-administered Serbian province of Kosovo, which is sought by the ethnic Albanian majority but opposed by Belgrade, could have negative consequences for unresolved conflicts in the former Soviet Union that erupted in the early 1990s.

"It is dangerous to ignore the fact that the shape the future Kosovo resolution takes will set a precedent," Alexander Konuzin, the head of the ministry's department of international organizations, said in an article for the magazine International Life.

"Some conflict regions are already trying to anticipate possible Kosovo resolution variants," he said. "Russia is not ready to share responsibility for such a short-sighted policy."

Russia has peacekeepers stationed in three conflict zones in the former Soviet Union, two of which are in Georgia, where the self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia refuse to recognize Tbilisi's rule, and the other in Moldova, where the unrecognized Transdnestr republic has sought to break away from the central authorities.

Konuzin said that the current Kosovo resolution process has aroused serious concern.

"History proves that only a goodwill agreement between the parties to a conflict following a negotiating process can guarantee long-term stability," the official said.

In late November, thousands of Kosovo Albanians attacked the United Nations headquarters in the capital, Pristina, over a delayed decision on their demand for independence. The region has been 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 January 21.

The diplomat added that collective support was necessary for the resolution of the conflict.

Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku, who visited Moscow with a delegation of Kosovo interim government officials in late November, reiterated his determination to continue pressing for the province's independence and to secure its recognition as a sovereign state by the UN Security Council and other international organizations.

[Source: Russian Information Agency - Novosti, Moscow, 08Dec006]

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