Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Milosevic's policies compromise Serbia's negotiating position on Kosovo - Tadic

Text of report by Serbian TV on 12 July

[Presenter] The main portion of Serbian President Boris Tadic's interview with our television [last night] was devoted to Kosovo-Metohija. President Tadic confirmed that he and Prime Minister [Vojislav] Kostunica had written a letter to the UN special envoy for Kosovo-Metohija, Maarti Ahtisaari, demanding that adequate preparations should take place and that a precise procedure be established ahead of the forthcoming meeting [between Belgrade, Pristina teams] in Vienna. Tadic said that the meeting in Vienna scheduled for 24 July would be held between the presidents and prime ministers of both Serbia and Kosovo.

[Reporter] The Serbian president emphasized that negotiations about the status of the southern Serbian province had not achieved much so far, adding that our team's room for manoeuvre had been reduced due to the wrong policy pursued during the 1990s. Today, President Tadic said, both the prime minister and he himself had same positions about Kosovo-Metohija.

[Tadic] We are nevertheless left with diplomacy, first of all. Wars on the territory of the Balkans should not be waged any longer. War should not be waged anywhere in the world, either, but in the Balkans - our experience has taught us - this would have disastrous consequences for Serbia's interests, catastrophic consequences for our country's integrity and, first of all, for our citizens.

[Reporter] Speaking about cooperation with the Hague tribunal, the Serbian president emphasized that he hoped that the adoption and implementation of the [government-proposed] Action Plan [for Hague cooperation] would complete this cooperation. Although he did not take part in consultations over this issue, Tadic claimed that he was ready to help the government, adding that his cabinet had already prepared the proposal for an action plan in case the government is restricted by time [as heard].

President Tadic reiterated that parliamentary elections in Serbia should be held this autumn. He noted that through the elections, as a factor of stability, a stable government would be elected which would lead Serbia to a stable port, the European Union.

[Tadic] Why am I proposing elections for as early as this autumn? I believe that it would be good for the discussion about Serbia's future to be held in a peaceful atmosphere, and that the elections should be held in a positive atmosphere full of incentives, and that a government would be elected which could administer the country for a long time, over four years, a stable government - that this government should share European and democratic values. I advocate this position and I am not going to give it up.

[Reporter] The Serbian president assessed that according to the current procedure bequeathed to us from the time of [former Serbian and Yugoslav President] Slobodan Milosevic, it was very difficult to pass a new constitution. As important issues to be solved by this highest legal act, President Tadic cited the issue of property, protection of minorities, decentralization which includes the issue of Vojvodina, as well as the election of the president.

Source: RTS 1 TV, Belgrade, in Serbian 1000 gmt 12 Jul 06

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