Russian defense minister critical of situation in Kosovo

BELGRADE, December 23 (Itar-Tass) - Visiting Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev has criticized the situation in Kosovo, saying what is happening there cannot be called peace.

Murders and robberies continue in the province. The Kosovo Liberation Army, transformed into forces for the protection of Kosovo -- despite the expiration of all terms for its disarmament -- has a sufficient amount of weapons at its bases, Sergeyev told reporters on Thursday.

"The first results of the KFOR's activity in Kosovo cannot be called positive. We cannot evaluate the activity by the leadership of the UN mission in Kosovo as satisfactory enough," he said.

The country's population, the innocent nation is suffering from the sanctions. This suffering should be stopped. It is necessary to strictly adhere to Resolution 1244 by the UN Security Council. The UN's decision does not allow disrespect for Yugoslavia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, not mentioning the actions undermining them, including the separation of Kosovo from Yugoslavia, the minister said.

He called for consolidating efforts in order to lift sanctions against Yugoslavia and provide urgent aid to the country without any political conditions.

Sergeyev arrived in Yugoslavia for a two-day working visit.

http://www.tass.ru/english/template3.htmls?id=461782&p=0

[URL may be different next day if article is archived]