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Russia insists on continuing Kosovo talks

 Russia is insisting that dialogue continue between Belgrade and Pristina on the status of the Kosovo province, a Russian deputy foreign minister said on Tuesday.

The UN deadline for an agreement on the future status of Kosovo ran out on Monday, and the predominantly Albanian province had earlier said it would unilaterally declare independence if no agreement was reached by the deadline.

"The Russian side stresses the need for Belgrade and Pristina to continue dialogue with international mediation to try and reach a decision on the Kosovo status, which is approved by the UN Security Council," Vladimir Titov said at a meeting with the German ambassador to Moscow, Walter Schmidt.

He added that statements by certain Western leaders, calling for a unilateral decision on the status of the Albanian-dominated province, were unacceptable.

The Contact Group troika - Russia, the United States and the European Union - submitted to the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a report on December 10 saying that the parties had failed to reach an agreement after "120 days of intensive negotiations."

At the latest talks in Austria in late November, Pristina continued to insist on full independence, while Belgrade was only willing to offer the province wide autonomy.

Russia, Serbia's traditional ally, has said that independence for Kosovo could lead to a domino effect, causing other separatist regions to unilaterally announce independence.

RIA Novosti

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