Monday, November 07, 2005

Serbs offer Kosovo own household under same roof

By Beti Bilandzic

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia told Russia on Monday that it had no intention of trying to re-impose its will on Kosovo Albanians but could not allow them to change Serbia's borders by declaring the province independent.

Talks to determine Kosovo's "final status" are due to start later this month, conducted by newly appointed U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari. Serbian President Boris Tadic has warned that major powers might impose a solution if the two sides fail to agree.

"It is neither Serbia's intention nor wish to rule over the Albanian majority in Kosovo and we emphasise the right of the Albanian people to organise their own life there," Serbia and Montenegro Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic said.

But he said Albanian rights do not include "terrorising" Serbs, trampling on the United Nations charter or "changing the internationally recognised borders of our state".

Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since 1999 when NATO bombing compelled former president Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his forces. Some 10,000 civilians were killed during his two-year crackdown on an Albanian guerrilla insurgency.

Kosovo's 90-percent Albanian majority has been clamouring for independence ever since.

Serbia offers far-reaching autonomy but not a separate country, which would require altering the borders of the internationally recognised, democratic state of Serbia and Montenegro.


Draskovic was speaking at a news conference with counterpart Sergei Lavrov of Russia, Serbia's traditional Security Council ally and member of the big power Contact Group (United States, Italy, Germany, France, Britain and Russia) which will oversee the talks.

"No solution can be imposed. It can only be the result of direct talks between Belgrade and Pristina (Kosovo's provincial capital)," Lavrov said.

Russia supported Belgrade's concept of "less than independence but more than autonomy", he added. But "we need this concept to be translated into specific proposals and we hope that our friends in Belgrade will do so".

In line with Contact Group guidelines, Lavrov said that partition of Kosovo, where 100,000 Serbs live next to two million ethnic Albanians, should be ruled out. He was due to visit Kosovo later in the day.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has said no one wants partition, neither his government nor the international community nor the Kosovo Albanians.

But deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus -- an influential liberal in Serbia's centre-right ruling coalition -- has raised the possibility of dividing Kosovo into two "entities", the formula used in neighbouring Bosnia to accommodate Serbs, Muslims and Croats in one state after their 1992-95 war.


Kosovar2006 said...

Here we go again are they def. No partition Kosova has also internationaly recognised borders.
Do they not understand independent KOSOVA is the best solution, if this doesnt happen let alone partition expansion will take place

So listen and get over it youhave lost Kosova

arianit said...

Own roof? No, sir! Serbs stole our roof and now are offering it back under terms and conditions. Let us take it back and then will offer it to Kosova Serbs under the same terms and conditions. But you may say why bother? Well, Serbia had its chance for 87 years, it's only fair for us to get the same chance.

Internationally recognized borders are nothing else but an "international" approval of what has been achieved through the ages with genocide and war. Kosova's borders are not an exception either - although at 1/3 of the size they were in 1878. Luckily, Kosova's borders are not in dispute today but rather "Yugoslavia's," a country that died many times over. So what is everybody really arguing about? Lemmy know.

illyrianboy said...

I liked the "terms and conditions" part. I mean wtf are they talking about. Serbs have destroyed all the possible roofs in former Yugoslavia. Including hundreds of thousands of roofs of Albanian houses in Kosovo. Anyway, nice try!

Chris Blaku said...

It is humorous to observe the Serbians claim that they cannot allow Kosovar Albanians to declare independence, as if they had any choice in the matter. Their arguments cater to their nationalist voting base, who have voted in 1/3 of the nationalist party allied with Milosevic into Parliament, to form the majority.

In short, supporting Kosovar independence in Serbia today is political suicide. Tadic and Kostunica privately acknowledge the likelihood of losing Kosova, however they must portray to their people that it was forcefully taken by the West (and the evil Americans), so the Serbians can continue to do what it is they do best, play the victim.