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Kosovo decision to set precedent - Russian CE representative

18:19 01/06/2006

STRASBOURG, (France) June 1 (RIA Novosti) - A decision on the status of the Serbian province of Kosovo will set a precedent in Europe, Russia's official representative at the Council of Europe said Thursday.

Alexander Orlov said the decision on granting it independence "could become universal for the rest of Europe."

Kosovo has been under the administration of the UN since 1999 but it is widely assumed the Albanian-majority population will be granted independence from Serbia, which should mark the final carving up of the old Yugoslavia following Montenegro's May 21 vote to secede from Serbia.

Orlov said this could set an example for decision-making on the status of other provinces, including Transdnestr, a breakaway region in Moldova, and South Ossetia and Abkhazia, self-proclaimed republics in Georgia.

Orlov said the United Nations was playing the key role in talks on the status of Kosovo but added that the Council of Europe could help the province determine its constitutional system, control the observation of human rights and the rights of ethnic minorities.

Russia has consistently advocated the rights of Serbs living in Kosovo, many of whom have been driven out of the province, and highlighted the plight of the Orthodox Church, whose buildings have often been attacked.

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RIA NovostiKosovo decision to set precedent - Russian CE representative

18:19 01/06/2006 A decision on the status of the Serbian province of Kosovo will set a precedent in Europe, Russia's official representative at the Council of Europe said Thursday.>>

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