Thursday, November 16, 2006
Kosovo must not 'drag down' EU aspirant Serbia: Swedish FM
The question of Kosovo's future status must not be allowed to harm Serbia in its bid to join the European Union, visiting Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said Thursday."The issue of Kosovo should not be allowed to drag Serbia down, Serbia should move forward to join the rest of the European countries," Bildt said after talks with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic.Bildt said the solution for the future status of the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo should be "sustainable" and "in the interest of the entire region".Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of its population, are calling for independence but Belgrade has only offered the southern province wide-ranging autonomy.Draskovic himself warned that the possible independence of Kosovo could destabilise Serbia as well as the whole Balkan region, and insisted that Belgrade and Pristina's rival stances were not irreconcilable."It is necessary to bridge Serbia's legitimate request not to breach its territorial integrity and fulfill justified and legitimate demands by (Kosovo) Albanians," Draskovic told reporters."But I will never consider legitimate a demand to create another Albanian state in the Balkans," said Draskovic.Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since 1999, when a NATO bombing campaign ended a crackdown by Belgrade forces on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians. It is still technically a part of Serbia.The UN's top Kosovo mediator, Martti Ahtisaari, said last week he would wait to reveal his plans for the future of the province until after Serbian general elections on January 21, delaying the previous end-of-year deadline.
Posted by KosovaReport at 10:15 PM