After an outburst of violence in March, there is still tension in Kosovo and new interethnic incidents are occurring, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Razov said in connection with the UN Security Council considering the Kosovo problem on Tuesday.
According to him, in a considerable part of the province, a monoethnic "Albanian space" has been created. Thus, the Serbian population has been forced to live in enclaves. The population's security is not guaranteed and its rights and freedoms continue to be violated. The position of other ethnic minorities is not better either.
In the opinion of the Russian diplomat, the efforts of the Kosovo-Albanian authorities of the interim self-government bodies to establish an inter-community dialogue "are so far, only declarations."
Mr. Razov said that preparations for October 23 elections for the Kosovo Assembly (parliament) may antagonize relations between the Serbs and the Albanians even further.
"In this situation it is quite possible that events similar to those in March may occur again," Mr. Razov said. In view of this, Russia counts on "the international administrations in Kosovo to adopt measures aimed at preventing a new wave of violence."
The deputy minister also said that the Russian Embassy in Serbia and Montenegro would open an office in Kosovo. It will not be "an independent mission but an office of the Russian Embassy in Serbia and Montenegro," he said. "This situation fully complies with provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1244."
According to Mr. Razov, Russia is working to ensure its presence in Kosovo, something that is necessitated by the establishment of more intensive contacts with the international structures and the local self-government bodies in the province at the present very important stage of settlement.
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