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Serb Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic will meet with his Russian counterpart
Serb Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic will meet with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on July 17 to discuss means of restarting talks on Kosovo's status.

Russia has been Belgrade's main supporter in rejecting international recognition of Kosovo as a sovereign state. Both countries continue to consider the predominantly Albanian province to be a part of Serbia.

Jeremic told RIA Novosti on Wednesday that the discussions with Sergei Lavrov would focus on "continuing our joint efforts on the international political arena on the issue of Kosovo's status, which is the absolute foreign policy priority for our government."

The visit will be the Serb diplomat's first foreign trip since a new cabinet was formed in Belgrade last week.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow continues to hold the view that a solution on Kosovo must be found that is acceptable to both Serbs and Albanians.

"The Kosovo problem must be resolved on the basis of mutual agreement, and for this the negotiations process must be resumed," ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said.

He said that the United Nations must continue to have leading role in regulating the situation in Kosovo, and that "any changes to the format of the international civilian presence in Kosovo must receive the prior approval of the UN Security Council in line with the statutes of Resolution 1244."

The Security Council has been divided on the future of Kosovo, which broke away from Serbia in February, with Russia insisting the international presence in the region should be agreed on with Belgrade.

Kosovo, with a 90% ethnic-Albanian majority, has been formally recognized as a sovereign state by 43 UN member states, including the U.S. and most EU members since it proclaimed its independence from Serbia on February 17.

The Serb minister said the current situation in Kosovo arose due to mistakes made by the international community.

"The greatest mistake was made by those who from the very beginning said that there could be only one solution to the conflict - granting independence to Kosovo. I am speaking of those who made such public declarations."

The unequivocal support given by Western nations to Kosovo's drive for independence made it impossible to reach a compromise, as "the Albanians were certain they would get what they want irrespective of the negotiations progress," Jeremic said.

He said talks in Russia would also address bilateral energy, economic and cultural cooperation.


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