Serbia says it won't trade Kosovo for EU

Serbia is not prepared to trade off Kosovo's independence for any deal with the European Union, Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said Monday as EU powers backed the province's statehood.

Serbia says it won't trade Kosovo for EU
'There will be no trade of Kosovo for Europe, nor will Serbia ever accept it, and nobody's offering it,' Djelic told journalists in Belgrade, according to state-run news agency Tanjug.

'The European Union isn't a country, isn't a member of the United Nations, and nor will it be a part of the process on Kosovo.

'That process belongs to the UN Security Council and all member countries of the United Nations, but in no way the European Union,' said Djelic.

Serbia and the European Union last month initialled a so-called Stabilisation and Association Agreement, considered the first stepping stone for Western Balkan nations on the path to eventual EU membership.

The act of initialling the SAA has symbolic but little legal value, only meaning that Belgrade and Brussels approve the content of the agreement's text.

Djelic, the deputy prime minister for EU integration, had previously targetted the full signing of the accord by January 28.

'In the worst-case scenario, the reputation of (EU) member countries will deteriorate (in Serbia), but we should ask ourselves all the time what is the best for our national interest, and this is European integration,' he said.

Brussels conditions the SAA's signing on Belgrade's cooperation with The Hague-based UN war crimes tribunal, which is demanding the arrest of four Serbs who still remain at large.

Chief among them is former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, who along with his main accomplice, Radovan Karadzic, is wanted for genocide over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

The massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica is considered the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

At a meeting in Brussels, EU foreign ministers said Monday that they were close to reaching a united stance on recognising Kosovo's independence, despite a stern warning from Russia.

'We will move to unity today,' Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado told reporters as he arrived to chair the talks. Portugal holds the EU presidency until the end of the month.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Aralık 2007, 11:38