RF to change its role in Kosovo if Nato shirks obligations

MOSCOW, December 22 (Itar-Tass) - Russia will "revise forms and degree of its participation" in the peaceful settlement in Kosovo if NATO does not comply with its obligations, the Defence Ministry's Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov said.

Ivashov told journalists on Wednesday that "Russia is not considering any ways of its withdrawal and exit from Kosovo".

The main task is to make sure that international norms and principles regarding the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Kosovo are observed, he explained.

At the same time, the general warned that "if NATO shows its real face and do what it failed to do with the help of air strikes and bombings and tries to destroy Yugoslavia's integrity politically, Russia will revise forms and degree of its participation in the settlement of the Kosovo conflict".

"The objectives determined for the peacekeeping operation in Kosovo have been ignored," he said.

He described the situation in Yugoslavia as explosive, adding that there is a tendency towards separating Kosovo from Yugoslavia.

"NATO countries support such a turn of events and enhance this tendency," Ivashov noted.

He believes that "there are no new conditions for resuming cooperation with NATO. We do not see such conditions today".

The general said there are attempts by NATO's new political leadership to invite Russia to resume cooperation, but nothing specific has been proposed. "We have been offered meetings for the sake of meetings, without solving serious problems and tasks which are provided for in the Russia-NATO Founding Act," he said.

"Again there has been attempt to give our relations a cover of success and hold meetings and luncheons but not address concrete challenges of European security," Ivashov said.

"Our main challenge is to ensure compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions and other agreements. If Russia and the international community fail to prevent negative tendencies and we see that this mass of agreements is violated, Russia will most certainly revise forms and degree of its participation in the Kosovo settlement," Ivashov said.

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