Thursday, December 15, 2005

Kosovo can be 'independent' within Serbia: Serbian president

BELGRADE, Dec 15 (AFP) -

Kosovo Albanians can achieve a form of "independence" within Serbia, the former Yugoslav republic's President Boris Tadic said, clarifying his position in talks on the UN protectorate's future status.

In an interview with AFP, Tadic said he was ready "to recognise all the possible rights of ethnic Albanians and maximum possible independence from Belgrade, but at the same time preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia over Kosovo."

Albanians, who outnumber Serbs, Roma and other minorities in Kosovo by more than nine to one, are determined to secure full independence from Serbia in the province's future status negotiations -- a demand that Belgrade strongly opposes.

The ethnic group could have "some kind of international representatives, but no seat in the United Nations, no defence sector and no ministry of foreign affairs," Tadic said, adding an "international presence" would be needed at borders.

In a bid to gain support for his plan, Tadic is to present it to French President Jacques Chirac next week, making France the third member of the Contact Group of foreign powers in the Balkans after Russia and Germany to be officially informed about the idea.

The UN special envoy for resolving Kosovo's status, former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, last month launched initial negotiations in an effort to bring Belgrade and Pristina in from their diametrically opposed positions.

Tadic proposed that two entities should be formed in the province, with the Serbian one "institutionally linked to Belgrade."

"My proposal is to form a Serbian entity which is going to be in charge of few very important fields (including), for example, health care, education, judiciary and local security," Tadic said.

"I'm trying to define the position of Albanian (people) in Kosovo in terms of self-government (and) de facto independent institutions, but at the same time to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of my country in Kosovo," he added.

Forces from Serbia, whose people consider Kosovo the origins of their history and culture, were driven out of the province in June 1999 after a 78-day campaign of air strikes against them by NATO in response to a crackdown against separatist Albanian rebels.

The province, which legally remains a part of Serbia, has since been administered and protected by the United Nations and the military alliance.

"Kosovo is part of our identity. Losing Kosovo would mean we are losing our identity," Tadic said.

However, the Serbian president warned Belgrade was likely to have more of a say about Kosovo's status if it managed to track down the two most wanted war criminals from the Balkans wars of the 1990s, ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief Ratko Mladic.

Karadzic and Mladic were indicted 10 years ago by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for their roles in the siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre of about 8,000 Muslim in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, the worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II.

"We are cooperating with The Hague tribunal but this is not enough," Tadic said.

Last week's arrest of former Croatian general Ante Gotovina -- who was the court's third most wanted war crimes fugitive -- left Serbia, its union partner Montenegro and Bosnia's Serb entity in a difficult position as the only parts of former Yugoslavia yet to arrest and extradite war crime indictees.

"We are doing everything we can," Tadic said, adding however that "those people have a huge (amount of) experience" in avoiding arrest.

The ICTY's chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, has insisted Mladic is hiding in Serbia, but Belgrade has repeatedly denied any knowledge about his whereabouts.

"If he is in Serbia this is a better position, because we have more forces to find him. But if he is not in Serbia we are in trouble because everything is depending on Ratko Mladic's destiny," Tadic said.

"I hope that he is in Serbia, so we can find him and send him to The Hague," he added.


illyrianboy said...

This is so childish. Why don't you just give up Tadic. I know you are worried about what will happen to your ass, but nothing will happen. Even radicals know that Kosovo is lost.

fauna said...

independence within serbia.. that's funny

arianit said...

Tadic, this land is not your land. Say, before you became president, when was the last time you visited Kosova? I would say with some certitude that if you din't come to one of Milosevi'c warmongering gatherings back in the 80's, you (and 95% of Serbs) probably never saw Kosova in your life.

Ron said...

Within serbia my ass.
Long live the Republic of Albanian Kosova.

Kosovar2006 said...

HAHAHA Serbia's plead is getting more childish then ever.

Dublin said...

The comments are wrong from the start and should not be read!....INdependent within Serbia does not make it INdependent then does it!

What a loser.....however this is his way of preparing his people for the big LOSS of theirs.....his next comments will be something like "Kosova can be INdependent within Europe and still be next door to Serbia....wouldnt' that be funny?!

Titan said...

Don't blame him, he is SERB. He thinks Serbia is a continent !!!


who was that idiot to write that?:"Kosovo can be 'independent' within Serbia??????
Was he drunk? Just show him this webpage:

Serbs say GOODBYE TO KOSOVA ( as that land has, it is, and it will be always Illyrian-Dardarian-Albanian land)