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    MOSCOW HAILS UN SECURITY COUNCIL STATEMENT ON KOSOVO

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    MOSCOW, May 1 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow welcomes the statement on Kosovo that was issued April 30 by the Current Chair of the United Nations Security Council, Alexander Yakovenko, official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told the media Saturday.

    "We support the statement on Kosovo that was issued by the Chair of the UN Security Council in New York on April 30." This statement "expresses the international community's striving to take effective steps to restore Kosovo's multi-ethnic harmony, protect the rights of ethnic minorities, and to ensure the freedom of movement and security for all inhabitants of the province," he said.

    According to Yakovenko, the statement emphasizes the need to bring to justice those behind the outbreak of violence against the Serb community in mid-March, as well as to restore law and order and to organize the surrender of illegally possessed arms.

    In the Foreign Ministry spokesman's assessment, stability has not been restored to Kosovo yet. No serious operations have been carried out to remedy the situation on the ground since the flare-up of interethnic violence in mid-March.

    Yakovenko pointed out the necessity of a thorough inquiry into the circumstances that had surrounded the events of March 17 to 19 in Kosovo so that ethnic cleansing would never repeat itself in the province.

    "Along with building up the numerical strength of the KFOR peacekeeping force, it would be a good idea to reinforce their anti-terror component, providing it with additional capabilities to counter mass unrest," Yakovenko said.

    According to the diplomat, an effective operation to collect arms from the population could also help restore security to Kosovo.

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