CEOL
Russia wants special UN mission in Kosovo

MOSCOW, Mar 22, 2000 -- (Reuters) Russia wants a special U.N. Security Council mission to be sent to Kosovo because the situation there is worsening rapidly, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

"The situation in Kosovo is developing quickly in a negative way and this could lead to an aggravation in the situation not only in the province, but also in the south of Serbia and in the whole of the Balkans," Ivanov told Itar-Tass news agency.

He said Russia had made a proposal to send such a mission to the Security Council on Monday.

A United Nations resolution last year authorised the presence in Kosovo of a multinational peacekeeping force and a U.N. civil administration, known as UNMIK.

Russia's Foreign Ministry, is a separate statement, blasted UNMIK's decision to introduce a special Kosovo car registration, saying it smacked of recognising Kosovo's independence from Yugoslavia, and said Belgrade had not been consulted.

UNMIK says the new registration is aimed at introducing order amid chaos in Kosovo, a magnet for stolen cars from across Europe.

Russia, though it takes part in the peacekeeping mission, says the NATO-led KFOR force does not do enough to protect Kosovo's Serb minority, many of whom have fled to Serbia.

An armed ethnic Albanian group emerged this year in the southern Presevo valley region of Serbia, which borders Kosovo, saying it aimed to protect local Albanians against Serb repression. Many diplomats and observers fear the area may explode in violence as Kosovo did last year.

Russia has traditionally close ties with fellow Orthodox Serbia. Moscow fiercely opposed NATO's air strikes against Yugoslavia, which began nearly one year ago and drove Serb forces out of Kosovo.



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