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    PLANS TO START DISCUSSING STATUS OF KOSOVO IN JUNE NEXT YEAR ARE HARDLY FEASIBLE, SAYS SERGEI RAZOV

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    TOKYO, April 6, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - June 2005 as the fixed date for starting the talk on the future status of Kosovo is unlikely to be real, deputy Russian foreign minister Sergei Razov stated while speaking on Tuesday at a meeting in the Japanese Institute of International Affairs.

    "It is not quite serious to try to squeeze a highly complicated political process into preset time limits," he noted. Sergei Razov, who in the Russian Foreign Ministry is in charge of the Central and Eastern European department, on Tuesday held a meeting with director of the European department of the Japanese Foreign Ministry Ichiro Komatsu during which they exchanged opinions on issues of interest to both sides.

    "The theme of the Western Balkans is now one of the most topical, and taking into account the events in Kosovo, - a burning one," the deputy foreign minister said.

    "The main task in Tokyo was to synchronize our watches and I had the feeling that our mechanisms are working correctly, even with five-hour time difference," he noted.

    On Monday Razov spoke twice at the international conference on the Balkan problems.

    Speaking about the expansion of the European Union, Razov noted that "on the one side our partners are speaking about the creation of the single Europe without dividing lines, that Russia is an integrated part of Europe, and on the other they are erecting visa barriers, a second Berlin wall." "This paper wall can prove to be stronger than the stone wall," he stressed.

    The deputy minister noted the interest of the Far Eastern countries for the processes of European unification, which is explained, in his opinion, by the fact that in Asia, as distinct from Europe, there are much fewer structures similar to the European Union and up to now the European countries devoted more attention to bilateral relations.

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