Lavrov urges UN mission in Kosovo to fulfill its mandate

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed surprise at UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's statement during his recent trip to Kosovo.

"Frankly speaking, I was a bit surprised when the UN secretary general, who visited Belgrade and then Pristina not long ago, said in reply to a question, if, of course, he was quoted correctly, that he had no role to play in dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina," Lavrov told reporters after talks with his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic.

"I presume that no one has exonerated the United Nations from responsibility for the situation around Kosovo and I hope that our colleagues in New York have a proper understanding of their mandate based on the UN Security Council's decisions," the Russian minister said.

UN Security Council resolution 1244 passed in 1999 "remains the only legal ground for what should be done to settle the situation [around Kosovo]," he remarked, adding that Russia saw no other way of solving the existing problems except through dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

"This by no means exonerates the UN of its responsibility because the UN mission in Kosovo has a mandate approved by the Security Council and must fulfill it," Lavrov said.

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