UNITED NATIONS, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Serbia said on Thursday that minority Serbs in the breakaway province of Kosovo faced a threat of "pogroms" and warned the United Nations against granting the Albanian majority's demand for independence.
Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic told the U.N. General Assembly some 200,000 Serbs and other minorities had been expelled from Kosovo since NATO waged an air war in 1999 to end Serbian repression in the territory.
The Albanians who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's population are demanding total independence from Belgrade.
"For months now, Albanian extremists are issuing open threats of pogrom against the remaining Serbs, Montenegrins and non-Albanians, unless their ultimatum on the proclamation of Kosovo as an independent state is met," he declared. "No one in present-day Europe is so tragically unprotected.
"The standards set for Kosovo are not even close to being fulfilled," Draskovic said. "Are we therefore going to abandon the 'standards before status' policy?"
He was referring to a U.N. review of democracy and human rights standards in the province, which is nearing completion. A satisfactory report is a precondition for opening talks on Kosovo's final status later this year.
Draskovic said Serbia was willing to compromise on a status for Kosovo that was more than limited autonomy and less than full independence, but the Kosovo Albanians had not budged an inch from their insistence on independence.
"An independent state of Kosovo is not a guaranteed right but an extreme demand," he said.
Albania called on Wednesday for "conditional independence" for its ethnic kin in the neighboring territory under European Union supervision, saying that would allow time to satisfy the international community that the Serb minority was properly protected.