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Russian FM Warns Against Unilateral Move for Kosovo Independence

Russia's foreign minister is again warning that any unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia by Kosovo Albanians could provoke separatist unrest in other parts of the world.

Sergei Lavrov says unilateral independence for the breakaway province could set a dangerous precedent and erode stability in areas such as Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Lavrov made his comments to the Cyprus News Agency.

Belgrade and Pristina ended a series of talks last month on the future status of Kosovo without reaching a compromise. Serbia has offered broad autonomy to Kosovo's Albanians and many elements of statehood, but it has rejected Kosovo demands for outright independence.

Mediators from the United States, the European Union and Russia presented a report to the United Nations Friday on the talks. The U.N. Security Council is to discuss the recommendations on December 19.

In another development, the former British Army chief who commanded NATO's Kosovo force when it entered the province to stop ethnic fighting in 1999 says failure to reach an agreement on Kosovo's status has created "a mess."

General Mike Jackson, writing in Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper, also warns that that the situation in Kosovo is extremely volatile.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders insist on full statehood. Serbia has offered broad autonomy for the ethnic Albanian majority. The contested province has been under U.N. administration since 1999.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.