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FM Lavrov says too early to speak of giving Kosovo independence

MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister says it is early to speak of granting independence to the troubled Serbian region of Kosovo, the ministry said Monday.

Sergei Lavrov told Slovak newspaper Pravda last week that hasty decisions on giving Kosovo sovereignty "would be immediately projected on other conflicts, including in the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]."

Lavrov said that it was tempting to establish the Kosovo case as unique and say it did not create international legal precedent, but that this was no more than an attempt to evade international legal norms.

"Double standards and selectiveness in conflicts settlements are unacceptable," 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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