Serbia's possible boycott threatens Western Balkans conference

11:08, March 19, 2010      

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Serbia's possible boycott of the Western Balkans conference this weekend in protest against the invitation of Kosovo threatens to spoil the first meeting of all the political leaders in the region in 18 years.

The joint organizers Slovenia and Croatia have so far failed to secure the presence of both Serbia and Kosovo, the former Serbian province which declared independence in 2008.

The absence of Serbia would undermine the conference's goal of resolving regional disputes before European Union accession talks.

Serbian President Boris Tadic said earlier that Serbia would take part in the conference if Kosovo "participates within the format defined by Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council," or UNMIK Kosovo, the acronym for the UN mission in Kosovo..

The ethnic Albanian-dominated Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on Feb. 17, 2008. Serbia has said it would never recognize Kosovo's independence, regarding the move as contrary to international law.

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