Russia says UN chief's Kosovo plan outside his jurisdiction

Other News Materials 21 June 2008 19:23 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday the UN chief's proposals to gradually hand over the United Nations' powers in Kosovo to local authorities and a European police mission were outside his jurisdiction.

Ban Ki-moon pressed ahead at a UN Security Council session on Friday with his plan to cede main UN powers to the government of the Albanian-dominated region that broke away from Serbia in February and to a 2,200-strong EU mission to be deployed there.

Ban has proposed "reconfiguring" the UN administration in the region - in place since NATO bombings ended a conflict between Serb troops and Albanian separatists in 1999 - in a bid to overcome Security Council divisions on Kosovo's future. Russia insisted international presence in Kosovo should be agreed on with Serbia.

"We believe the secretary general's proposals to reconfigure the UNMIK [United Nations Mission in Kosovo] mission suggest a major review of the mission's mandate," the ministry said in a statement. "They are outside the UN secretary general's authority to maintain an international civilian presence in Kosovo granted by the Security Council in 1999."

Serbian President Boris Tadic rejected the plan on Friday saying Serbia would never recognize Kosovo's independence. He said it does nothing to preserve Serbia's territorial integrity.

Russia and Serbia insisted that the UN secretary general make no further moves on the issue without Security Council approval.

Speaking on Friday, Ban said the plan was "the best possible way in order to manage the situation in Kosovo." "If you cannot support me, I may need your sympathetic understanding in what I am going to do as secretary general," he said.