Russia's NATO envoy condemns U.S. military aid to Kosovo

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Russia's NATO envoy said on Friday the United States' decision to supply arms to Kosovo is a direct, severe violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution.
BRUSSELS, March 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's NATO envoy said on Friday the United States' decision to supply arms to Kosovo is a direct, severe violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution.

U.S. President George W. Bush authorized March 19 arms supplies to Kosovo, saying it would "strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace."

Security Council Resolution 1244 prohibits weapon supplies to the region, except to UN peacekeeping forces.

Dmitry Rogozin said he was "concerned and alarmed" over the decision, which threatens peace in the region.

"The decision in reality is a means of compelling Serbs by force to live in an independent Kosovo."

There is a huge volume of arms in Kosovo, and countries should consider seizing them, he said.

Resolution 1244 gave the UN the authority to administer Kosovo, which has been a UN protectorate since the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia ended a conflict between Albanian and Serb forces in 1999.

Kosovo, with a 90% ethnic Albanian majority, declared unilateral independence from Serbia on February 17. The U.S. and the vast majority of EU states have since acknowledged its sovereignty. Russia, Serbia's traditional ally, has refused to recognize the "world's newest state" and has pledged to block any attempt by Kosovo to seek UN membership.

Last week, violence broke out in the north of Kosovo as rioters attacked UN peacekeepers following the arrests of ethnic Serbs who had seized a UN court building in protest against the province's secession. A Ukrainian peacekeeper was killed and scores of people, both Serbs and UN personnel, were injured.

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