Belgrade, 3 December: The Serbian government today condemned as "harmful and unnecessary" the "inappropriate and ill-measured" statements concerning Swiss Professor Thomas Fleiner [director of University of Fribourg's Institute of Federalism] who had been appointed as an adviser to [Serbian] negotiating team [for Kosovo status talks].
"The Serbian government appointed Prof Thomas Fleiner as an adviser to the negotiating team for Kosovo-Metohija status talks as an exceptional and internationally recognized expert," a statement from the Serbian government said.
"The Serbian government chose Prof Fleiner as an adviser to our team on this occasion, too, unanimously and with full confidence and due respect," the statement said. It added that "the Serbian government once again states its same opinion about Prof Fleiner".
"The president of the [Serbian] republic [Boris Tadic] was acquainted with Serbian government's initiative to engage Prof Fleiner in our negotiating team as early as over a month ago. He then did not have any objections against this Serbian government's choice, nor did he have any objections later on," the statement said.
"The Serbian government views these inappropriate and ill-measured statements concerning Prof Fleiner as harmful and unnecessary".
"Such statements," government's statement concluded, "cannot influence the Serbian government's previous decision to have Prof Fleiner as an adviser to our team".
Source: FoNet news agency, Belgrade, in Serbian 1339 gmt 3 Dec 05