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Kosovo's actions undermine dialogue, says Serbian FM


10:00, August 31, 2011

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said here Tuesday that Kosovo's activities, including a July 25 attempt to take control of two gates on the administrative boundary line between Serbia and Kosovo, are deleterious to the dialogue between the two countries.

"The chasm of discord between the stakeholders has been widened by Pristina's unprovoked unilateralism," said Jeremic when addressing the United Nations Security Council during a meeting on Kosovo.

"Its actions have been all the more disappointing given the fact that we had believed the dialogue was taking place in an atmosphere of good faith, conducive to achieving compromise solutions to all outstanding issues," said Jeremic.

"We were making progress," he said. "In the past few months, agreements in principle were concluded on aspects of the civil registry and academic diplomas issues, as well as on elements of the freedom of movement agenda, including Kosovo Serb license plates."

Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina has been taking place to mete out solutions to problems still plaguing the bilateral relations. Kosovo separated from Serbia in 1999 and declared its own independence in 2008. The two remain at odds over sovereignty and borders in North Kosovo where a significant ethnic Serb community remains and resists Pristina's rule.

Jeremic said the region has become "much less secure" due to Kosovo's recent actions.

On July 25, a Kosovar force attempted to gain control of gates 1 and 31 on the administrative boundary line between the two countries without any advance notice. According to Kosovo, the action was meant to strengthen customs controls and enforce the ban on goods coming from Serbia.

Several violent incidents around the July 25 activities are being investigated by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), which helps enforce peace and justice in the area.

"This was the direct consequence of the calculated decision by the ethnic-Albanian secessionist leadership to order an unprovoked armed incursion into North Kosovo, part of a sinister plan to forcibly impose an illegitimate and decisively unwanted regime upon the residents of that part of the province," said Jeremic, adding with a call on the Security Council to "send a clear message to the perpetrators that their unilateralism is totally unacceptable."

Most of the local Serb population of North Kosovo perceived the move as an attempt to occupy the area, said Jeremic.

He urged that those responsible for the incursion should be held responsible for their actions.

"Should attempting to create a new reality on the ground through the use of force be allowed to stand, especially when the dialogue between the parties was producing results?" he asked. " What if the Serbs had been the unilateralists, instead of ethnic Albanians?"

The Serbian minister also drew attention to other "disturbing developments" in the Serbian community of Kosovo, including the damage inflicted on Serbian religious sites and graveyards, allegedly by ethnic-Albanian extremists.

Reports that the organs of Serbs were harvested and smuggled by members of the Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1999 need to be investigated as well, Jeremic said.

"We appreciate the efforts to reach a consensus in the council on how to decisively address these monstrous contentions," he said. "We will continue to insist, however, for this body to take action so that the full truth concerning these unprecedented war crimes can be uncovered."

After the Security Council meeting, Jeremic told reporters that he would have liked to see a presidential statement from the council condemning unilateral actions in Kosovo.

"Today's session of the Security Council was almost unequivocal -- all of the participants were almost unequivocal -- in condemning unilateral action as a way to move forward in the process," said Jeremic.

"The use of force is unacceptable and it is only through dialogue that progress can be made in Kosovo. It is highly disappointing though that some member states of the Security Council have decided to block the presidential statement, putting this particular fact on a piece of paper in clear and open terms."


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