BELGRADE (AP)--The Serbian government Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution that rejects independence for Kosovo ahead of U.N.-mediated talks starting next month on the future of the breakaway province.
The text of the platform - drafted as a 10-point resolution - calls for unequivocal support for a compromise on Kosovo's future status yet warns that the province's "territory is an inalienable part" of Serbia and that "any imposed solution will be considered illegitimate and unacceptable" by Belgrade.
"The future status of Kosovo can only be defined within the norms and standards of the United Nations and other international organizations, at the same time fully respecting...the constitution of Serbia," the draft reads.
The resolution was posted on the government Web site after the Cabinet adopted it Tuesday. It also needs the approval of the Serbian parliament, tentatively set to meet over the weekend.
In Moscow Tuesday, Serbia's President Boris Tadic said that conflict could erupt if Kosovo's Albanians seek an independent state.
"I am absolutely against destabilization of the Balkan peninsula," Tadic said at the start of a Kremlin meeting with President Vladimir Putin during a three- day visit to Russia.
The draft leaves open the possibility that a national referendum be held in Serbia to approve the outcome of the U.N.-mediated talks with independence- seeking Kosovo Albanians.
Those negotiations are expected to start in December and end within a year.
The resolution offers Kosovo "essential" political and judicial autonomy and highlights that the Belgrade government is "determined that a concrete, reasonable, long-term and stable solution be found for Kosovo, taking into full consideration the legitimate interests of the (ethnic) Albanians in the province."
The draft also urged "direct negotiations" between the Serb side and the Kosovo Albanians.
Kosovo, considered by the Serbs to be the cradle of their statehood and religion, has been run by the U.N. since 1999, when North Atlantic Treaty Organization bombing halted a Serb crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians.
The U.N. envoy to mediate talks on Kosovo's future, Finland's former President Martti Ahtisaari, was expected to visit Kosovo and Belgrade later this month and move to Vienna in December to start the negotiations.
The format of the talks still has to be determined but Ahtisaari, appointed by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, faces a difficult task with the two sides diametrically opposed - Kosovo's ethnic Albanians insisting on full independence while Belgrade contending this would constitute "unlawful secession." On the Web site: www.srbija.sr.gov.yu
(END) Dow Jones Newswires