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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

    Russia Will Endorse Solution to Kosovo Issue if Serbia Accepts It - Lavrov

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow will be ready to consider a solution on the settlement of relations with Kosovo, in a constructive manner, as long as it is acceptable to Serbia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

    “If Belgrade considers any settlement option acceptable to Serbia, we will be ready to consider it in a constructive manner. It’s inappropriate to speculate about the possible content of one or another option,” Lavrov said in an interview with the newspaper Srpski Telegraf.

    READ MORE: Serbia Launches Biggest Military Drills in Its History Involving 8,000 Troops

    Moscow will keep supporting Belgrade's position on Kosovo in the international arena and will remain Serbia's ally in the process of the Kosovo settlement, Lavrov said.

    "In Russia, our Serbian friends have the most consistent and sincere ally in the process of the Kosovo settlement. I am certain that the main help on our part is in support of Belgrade's position, based on the need to adhere to the requirements of Resolution 1244, in the international arena," Lavrov told Srpski Telegraf.

    The minister stressed that Russia would promote Belgrade's stance through various international organisations, including the United Nations, Interpol, the World Trade Organisation, and many others.

    The upcoming visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Serbia, where he is expected to hold talks with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, will contribute to the further strengthening of Moscow-Belgrade ties, according to Sergei Lavrov.

    Vucic on Wednesday expressed hope that Putin's January visit would become the most productive ever in terms of substance and the number of agreements to be signed.

    "We believe that the results of the upcoming high-level talks will contribute to the further strengthening of multi-aspect Russian-Serbian ties," Lavrov told Srpski Telegraf.

    The foreign minister added that the high-level dialogue between Russia and Serbia was regular and usually had a tightly packed agenda.

    READ MORE: West Urges Serbia to Stop Diplomatic Activities Against Kosovo Recognition — FM

    Lavrov remarked on the nations' continuing cooperation with respect to trade and the economy, the implementation of joint investment projects and plans for the development of Serbia's gas transport network.

    "We see a lot of interest in student exchanges between Russian and Serbian universities. We will facilitate it as much as we can. So, there are really many topics that our leaders could discuss," Lavrov said.

    Putin's visit to Belgrade is expected to take place in mid-January, but the exact date is still unknown.

    The West insists on trying to turn the Balkans into yet another "staging ground" against Russia; no lessons have been taken from the situation in Ukraine, Lavrov added.

    "It seems as if the lessons from the tragedy in Ukraine have not been learned. Today, there are persistent efforts to turn the Balkans into yet another staging ground against Russia," Lavrov told Srpski Telegraf.

    According to Lavrov, the countries of the region "are being asked insistently to make a choice: Either they are with Moscow, or with Brussels and Washington."

    READ MORE: EU to Support Any Mutually Agreed Deal in Serbia-Kosovo Dispute — Mogherini

    The minister said that Moscow knew that Belgrade was under pressure to decrease cooperation with Russia and saw that Serbia was "resisting confidently."

    "Moscow appreciates Serbia's independent multi-faceted foreign policy that, I am sure, corresponds to the key interests of your people," Lavrov said.

    S-300 Favorite surface-to-air missile systems during a bilateral drill of air defense and aviation forces of the Western Military District
    © Sputnik / Russian Defence Ministry
    Instead of building together with Russia a security architecture based on the principles of equality, Western countries opted for "a dead-end way of increasing the geopolitical territories under their control, creating new demarcation lines on the European continent," the foreign minister said, when asked about the attempts of the Western officials to alienate Serbia from Russia.

    Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia in 2008 but Belgrade did not recognise the decision. UN Security Council Resolution 1244, in particular, provides the framework for the resolution of the conflict between the two sides.

    Pristina and Belgrade are engaged in an EU-facilitated dialogue aimed at the normalisation of relations between the sides.

    Related:

    Vucic Warns Serbia Could 'Receive Nothing' Over Kosovo Border Issue
    Serbian President Says to Visit Kosovo on Saturday
    West Broke Yugoslavia Up and Continues Punishing Serbs - Analyst
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    World Trade Organization (WTO), Sergei Lavrov, Russia, Serbia, Kosovo
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