Visiting German FM tells Serbia to face "reality" of Kosovo independence

08:30, August 27, 2010      

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On his first official visit to Belgrade, German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Thursday said it was time for Serbia to face reality and accept the independence of its southern province of Kosovo.

"A day will come when Belgrade and Pristina representatives sit at the same table and talk about the EU. For you it may be a utopia, but it can be achieved," said Westerwelle, speaking at the University of Belgrade. "Reconciliation can succeed if we face reality. An independent Kosovo is a reality and the opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)is unequivocal."

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and in July the ICJ in a non-binding opinion said its declaration did not represent a violation of international law.

Westerwelle further added that Germany's policy toward Serbia was one that promoted the European future of Serbia and the region.

"The EU is a project that will be completed when all Western Balkan countries are its members and it is our goal," he stated on the press conference after his meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic in Belgrade Thursday.

Jeremic acknowledged the significant role of Germany in European politics.

"Serbia cannot become an EU member without the full support of Germany and this is crucial," said Jeremic at the press conference with his German counterpart.

Nonetheless, he said Serbia would maintain its current diplomatic course and pursue a resolution to the status of Kosovo at the United Nations.

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