Britain urges Serbia to drop UN resolution on Kosovo

14:14, September 01, 2010      

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British Foreign Secretary William Hague on his first official visit to Belgrade on Tuesday called on the Serbian government to withdraw its resolution on Kosovo before the September 9th session of General Assembly of the United Nations.

Although Serbian officials, including President Boris Tadic and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, said they would welcome European Union input on the wording of the resolution, Hague told them that the easiest way to reach a compromise with the EU was to withdraw the resolution entirely.

Serbia submitted a draft resolution in July that calls for the General Assembly to get both sides (Belgrade and Pristina) to find "mutually acceptable solutions for all outstanding issues through peaceful dialogue." The Serbian resolution came a week after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in 2008 was not a violation of international law. Most EU countries, including the UK, have recognized Kosovo's independence.

"For Serbia, it would be good to lose the vote in the General Assembly," Hague said, adding that Serbia's relationship with the EU could be affected by a majority vote for the resolution.

The Serbian foreign minister, however, rejected his British counterpart's suggestion, stating that for Serbia there were certain "red lines" the Balkan country was not prepared to cross. Nonetheless, he did say that Serbia was prepared to discuss the resolution with the EU to achieve broader support.

Despite their differences, Jeremic stated that "we agreed to cooperate in the coming days and months to reach a compromise, not only in terms of Kosovo, but regarding the European future of the Western Balkans as well."

Serbian President Tadic said after his meeting with Hague that Serbia was prepared to cooperate on the draft resolution, but not over the issue of Kosovo's status, which Serbia maintains legally remains its southern province.

"No compromise is possible as regards to recognition of Kosovo' s independence," said Tadic.

Hague received much the same message from Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic who said that Belgrade remains convinced that dialogue is the only way to find a long-term solution.

Hague stated that although he had not reached an agreement on Kosovo with any of the Serbian officials he met in Belgrade, they "successfully exchanged opinions." He warned, however, that Serbia 's progress toward EU integration could be stalled if certain issues from Serbia's past, such as Kosovo's status, are not reconciled.

Source: Xinhua


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