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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 April 2007, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Russia threatens veto over Kosovo
French KFOR peacekeeper in Mitrovica
Ethnic Albanians overwhelmingly want to break away from Serbia
Russia has threatened to veto in the UN Security Council a plan to give Kosovo a form of supervised independence, Russian news agencies have reported.

Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov said the proposals would "not get through" the council without the support of both Kosovo and Serbia.

Mr Titov said he believed the threat of a veto would "stimulate the sides to find a mutually acceptable mechanism".

Kosovo has been administered by the UN since 1999, but remains part of Serbia.

The UN took over control of the territory following a Nato bombing campaign in 1999 targeting Serb forces.

Nato intervened to halt a violent crackdown by Serbia against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, some of whom had taken up arms.

Russian riposte

At the end of March this year, the UN special envoy for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, unveiled a blueprint that would give Kosovo internationally supervised independence for an initial period.

At the same time, the proposals envisage extensive self-government for Kosovo's Serb-inhabited municipalities and continuing links between them and Belgrade.

Kosovo map

Serbia has rejected the UN plan, but it has been broadly accepted by Kosovo Albanians.

The European Union and US have given their backing, with Washington suggesting last week that it would recognise Kosovo's independence even if Russia vetoed the proposal in the UN Security Council.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded by warning that "unilaterally imposing any solution to the Kosovo problem is unacceptable".

Mr Lavrov's deputy reiterated Russia's stance to reporters this week, saying that Belgrade had to agree to any plan.

"We have said that we will not support a solution that is not supported by both sides," the Interfax news agency quoted Mr Titov as saying.

"A decision based on Martti Ahtisaari's draft will not get through the UN Security Council," he said.

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