Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Over 30 per cent of Serbians see Kosovo independence as "realistic" - poll

Text of report in English by Belgrade-based Radio B92 text website on 9 August

Belgrade, 9 August: Over 30 per cent of Serbians believe the realistic solution to the Kosovo crisis might be the province's independence.

Strategic Marketing director Srdjan Bogosavljevic said two questions were posed in the survey: which is the most desirable, and the most realistic, outcome of the Kosovo crisis. For almost a year the answer to the first question was stable - expressing the view of one quarter of the population - that Kosovo should be a part of Serbia. At the same time, Kosovo's independence is the least favourable solution for the entire population of Serbia.

Bogosavljevic told B92 that when it comes to the realistic outcome, that is, what the citizens expect to actually happen, "almost no one has said they expect a full integration of [Kosovo into Serbia]. At present, 20 per cent believe a partition to be the realistic outcome. Up to 30 per cent subscribed to this view earlier, mostly coinciding with the country's political elite promoting the idea.

"Since February, we have had a large percentage of people who believe Kosovo's independence to be a realistic option. In the past three months, more people believe that Kosovo will break away rather than remain within Serbia. People seem to be reacting to available information. The information they got was that Kosovo is a part of Serbia. For the first time, however, with the Vienna talks in progress, the number of those who believe that Kosovo will become independent is on the rise".

Source: Radio B92 text website, Belgrade, in English 1522 gmt 9 Aug 06

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