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    STRATEGY TO INTRODUCE DEMOCRATIC STANDARDS IN KOSOVO NEEDS ADJUSTMENT-RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

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    MOSCOW, May 1 (RIA Novosti) - The current strategy for the introduction of democratic standards in Kosovo needs serious adjustments, Alexander Yakovenko, official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told the media Saturday.

    "It is necessary to adjust the Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan (KSIP) to new conditions, strengthening the provisions concerning equal security guarantees for the population, the ensuring of freedom of movement, the homecoming of refugees and internally displaced persons, and full-fledged integration of ethnic minorities into power bodies of all levels," Yakovenko said.

    "We still deem it premature at this point to set the overall review of KSIP execution for the middle of 2005," the diplomat added.

    Yakovenko warned that the confirmation of the date might be taken as a concession to Kosovo's extremist forces and as an attempt to exempt the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government from responsibility for the developments in that province.

    Provincial government agencies should earn people's confidence by proving their effectiveness in running public affairs, Yakovenko pointed out.

    The Russian side believes that the international community's concerted effort in Kosovo is the way to ensure consolidation of stability and security in the province, Yakovenko stressed.

    The latest upsurge of interethnic violence in Kosovo was triggered by an attack on a Serb teenager outside the capital, Pristina. According to UN police, the subsequent acts of violence, which involved some 50,000 people, totally destroyed 286 residential houses, 30 churches and cloisters, severely damaging 80 houses, 11 churches and 25 other facilities. At least 28 people were reportedly killed in the attacks and about 600 others wounded.

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