Ottawa Citizen

Russia ‘pleased’ it foiled Kosovo independen­ce

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Russia, which blocked Kosovo’s bid for independen­ce from Serbia, assured Serbia of its continued support, saying it was pleased other G8 nations were taking its arguments seriously.

In a public setback for western leaders who back Kosovo’s bid for independen­ce and who are pushing for action this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin refused on Friday to back down from his insistence that there can be no resolution of the

PETERSBURG, Russia

• province’s status without the agreement of Serbia.

Mr. Putin said after a G8 summit of the world’s major industrial­ized nations on Friday that underminin­g Serbia’s sovereignt­y “does not correspond to moral or legal norms.”

U.S. President George W. Bush said yesterday the UN Security Council must act now on a plan to grant Kosovo supervised independen­ce. Washington supports a proposal by UN mediator Martti Ahti- saari which offers Kosovo independen­ce under internatio­nal supervisio­n, but Russia has threatened to veto any vote.

“Our position (on Kosovo) was formulated long ago and it has not changed since then,” Mr. Putin told Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica at their meeting on the fringes of the 11th St Petersburg Internatio­nal Economic Forum.

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