Saturday, June 04, 2005

Serbia's future in Europe depends on Kosovo status - Serbian politician

Text of report in English by independent internet news agency KosovaLive

Prishtina [Pristina], 3 June: Zoran Ostojic, one of the leaders of the Citizen's League of Serbia [GSS], told KosovaLive that in the conference that will be held in Prishtina in June, representatives of this party will present their stances that independent Kosova [Kosovo] is in the interest of Serbia.

Two opposition parties from Belgrade, Liberal Democratic Fraction [LDF] and the GSS, have announced their participation in Kosova's Future Status Conference on 13 and 14 June in Prishtina.

Zoran Ostojic, who will be one of the speakers in this conference, said that it would be an "attempt to establish communication between alternative democratic forces in Belgrade and in Prishtina".

"We think that the Serbian government policy is completely wrong. We want to establish a different dialogue with political parties in Kosova, exchange information and even establish a form of cooperation," said Ostojic.

He emphasized that the future of Serbia depends on the status of Kosova and that of Montenegro. "The independent Kosova is in the interest of Serbia. Serbia's future in Europe and its modernization depend on a faster settlement of disputes, such as Kosovo and Montenegro. Kosova 'de facto' is independent and now we should find modalities in order it to gain international legitimacy. Referendum is a solution for Montenegro and this should happen soon in order for the citizens to decide whether they want to live in the common state or to live independent from Serbia," said Zoran Ostojic.

"Majority of Kosovars seek independence and this should be respected. On the other hand, we consider that there is still much left to be done for protection of human rights of the Kosova Serbs, but also we have to realize that they can accomplish their rights only through a full cooperation with the Kosova institutions and with the international community."

"But the Serbian government and President Boris Tadic on the other hand are cheating the people by saying that Kosova is a part of Serbia and they are continuing to manipulate with the Kosova Serbs and their fate. We have to ask rightly here, do they aim to displace all Serbs from Kosova? Let's just remember how Milosevic has organized the displacement of the Serbs from Croatia and their displacement in parts of Serbia populated by minorities, such as Vojvodina and Sandzak. Milosevic has also manipulated with the Kosova Serbs. So there is a high risk this kind of policy to continue," emphasized Ostojic.

The GSS opposition activist has opposed the stances of the official Belgrade, who call all political parties in Serbia to lead an identical policy with them when it comes to Kosova and its final status. "The time of identical stances has passed. Not it is the time of pluralism. The call for some kind of unity of the Serbs is communist way of thinking and has nothing to do with pluralism and democracy. The core of the modern politics is exchanging ideas, whereas citizens are the ones to decide if they like these ideas or not," said Ostojic.

Responding to a question on whether the GSS expects to be "punished" by the Serb Electoral Commission on their stance on Kosova's future status, Ostojic said, "We want to deal with politics and not with politicians' attitudes. We are aware that we do not represent the majority of the Serb society, but at the same time we know that there are some five per cent of people in Serbia with similar ideas to us, and this way we will be an influencing factor in parliament," concluded Ostojic.

Source: KosovaLive web site, Pristina, in English 3 Jun 05

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