Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Kosovo Serbs, Belgrade not ready to accept Kosovo independence - official

Text of report by Serbian independent news agency FoNet

Kosovska Mitrovica, 11 July: A member of the [Serbian] negotiation team [for Kosovo], Goran Bogdanovic, has told FoNet that part of the international community advocated Kosovo-Metohija independence, but none of the Serbs in Kosmet [Kosovo-Metohija] are ready to accept such a position and, most importantly, nobody in Belgrade is ready to accept independence.

Bogdanovic said that "vigorous diplomatic activity by the president and prime minister of Serbia and the other top Serbian officials was going on in that direction, in order to explain the situation existing in Kosovo".

He said the assumption that the Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija had little to say in the negotiating process about the future status [of Kosovo] "does not hold".

"If we believe that Kosovo-Metohija, and this is the case, is an integral part of Serbia, the state's top echelon must decide about its future status, and it should bear the brunt of the responsibility. Serbs in Kosovo have participated in all the working groups which have met in Vienna and I think they are adequately represented," Bogdanovic said.

Bogdanovic said that care should be taken about all Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija, recalling that two-thirds of the Serbs live south of the Ibar River [dividing Kosovska Mitrovica].

"We can certainly not exclusively think about northern Kosovo," Bodganovic said.

Source: FoNet news agency, Belgrade, in Serbian 1636 gmt 11 Jul 06

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