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    Prishtina's stance on Kosovo is unconstructive - Russian FM

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    STRASBOURG, May 19 (RIA Novosti) - The Kosovan leadership's intransigent attitude is delaying a solution over the status of the troubled Balkan territory, Russia's foreign minister said Friday.

    Sergei Lavrov, speaking at a news conference in Strasbourg, said: "The position of Prishtina's leadership, which is insisting on the unequivocal independence of Kosovo, is very unconstructive."

    Lavrov said a unilateral approach should not be taken to talks on Kosovo, and that negotiations must be held through the UN and the Contact Group.

    Talks on the UN-administered territory's status should be concluded by the end of the year, a view that is shared by the six-nation Contact Group - the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, Germany and Italy - Lavrov said.

    Earlier, some Russian politicians expressed concern that independence for Kosovo would create a precedent for recognition of breakaway regions in the former Soviet Union.

    Moldova is dealing with a separatist regime in Transdnestr, while Georgia has two breakaway regions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Nagorny Karabakh, a largely ethnic Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan, has long been a source of friction between the two Caucasus states.

    Formally part of Serbia, Kosovo has been a UN protectorate since 1999, following a NATO military campaign to drive out Yugoslav forces accused of atrocities against Albanian civilians.

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