Serbia reaffirms 'sovereignty over Kosovo'

The Serbian parliament early on Wednesday adopted a new resolution on Kosovo, reaffirming Serbia's sovereignty over the breakaway province which has been under United Nations control since 1999.

Serbia reaffirms 'sovereignty over Kosovo'
The Serbian parliament early on Wednesday adopted a new resolution on Kosovo, reaffirming Serbia's sovereignty over the breakaway province which has been under United Nations control since 1999.

The resolution also reiterates Serbia's determination to resist majority ethnic Albanians' drive for independence.

"Any solution which would violate the basic principles of the international law, integrity and sovereignty of Serbia over Kosovo) will be declared null," the resolution stated.

It said that the Serbian government should "energetically respond" through diplomatic channels to any attempts of unilateral recognition of Kosovo.

The resolution was adopted with 217 votes for, 12 against and three abstentions, after a whole day of debate on Tuesday, which stretched past midnight.

President Boris Tadic and prime minister Vojislav Kostunica, who formed a four-party coalition government after the 21 January parliamentary elections, urged MPs to vote for the resolution to strengthen Serbia's position in forthcoming fresh talks on Kosovo's future status.

After a year of deadlocked UN mediated negotiations, the plan by the chief envoy Martti Ahtisaari was shelved by the UN Security Council on Monday, to avoid a possible Russian veto. A new negotiating process has been turned over to a six-nation Contact group and a mediating "troika" composed of the US, EU and Russian representatives.

Kostunica claimed on Wednesday that Ahtisaari's plan had been a "fiasco" at the UN, adding that Serbia was ready for new, "real" negotiations.

"Serbia is once again ready for new talks and this is an opportunity for those who were not willing to acquaint themselves with Serbia's proposals to do so," he said.

Washington and western powers support Kosovo's independence, but Russia as a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council has sided with Belgrade and threatened to veto an independence move.

Belgrade is prepared to offer ethnic Albanians broad local autonomy but ethnic Albanians have said they will settle for nothing short of independence.

Meanwhile, the Contact group was meeting in Vienna at "experts" level on Wednesday to ponder further steps to restart negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade.

Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since 1999, when NATO bombs forced out Serbian troops amid gross human rights abuses and a mass exodus of ethnic Albanians during the suppression of a two year uprising.

AKI

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Temmuz 2007, 18:04
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