Serbia vows 'to keep Kosovo despite EU'

Serbia was determined to retain Kosovo, even at the expense of being kept out of the European Union, news reaching here from Belgrade quoted a government spokesman as saying on Tuesday.

Serbia vows 'to keep Kosovo despite EU'
Serbia was determined to retain Kosovo, even at the expense of being kept out of the European Union, news reaching here from Belgrade quoted a government spokesman as saying on Tuesday.

"Serbia will not cede a single bit of its territory, even if the country is cut off from European integration," Branislav Ristivojevic of the Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Vojislav Ostunica said.

Wolfgang Ischinger, European Union envoy to talks on Kosovo, threatened on Sunday to withdraw the possibility of bloc membership from Serbia and Kosovo if they failed to reach a solution on the province's future.

The envoy who is working with diplomats from the United States and Russia, the so-called troika mediators, also suggested on Sunday that partition of the territory could be an option if Serbia and Albanians agree to it.

"Serbia's position is clear, and it doesn't accept any division of Kosovo into Serbian and Albanian parts," Tanjug, Serbia's official news agency, quoted Ristivojevic as saying.

Kosovo, the southern Serbian province, has been run by the UN and NATO since 1999. Ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of the province's 2 million population, are demanding independence, while the Serbian and the Serbs in Kosovo want it to remain within Serbia.

In March, the UN special envoy Martin Ahtisaari submitted a draft plan, which envisions internationally supervised independence for Kosovo, to the Security Council concerning the Kosovo issue.

The plan, supported by the United States and many western countries, were robustly opposed by Serbia and its ally Russia which wields a powerful veto in the UN Security Council.

Agencies
Last Mod: 15 Ağustos 2007, 10:22
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