Koštunica, Jeremić reject EU conclusions
Serbia finds the EU's conclusions on the future Kosovo status unacceptable, Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica says.Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
The head of the government was reacting to a draft adopted in Brussels today where for the first time, the EU is offering Serbia early membership, in exchange for which Belgrade must “proceed to settling Kosovo’s status”, as the “status quo is untenable.”
This, according to Koštunica's statement this afternoon, is "offensive and unacceptable".
"A crippled Serbia cannot agree to violence in exchange for a prize of speedy EU admission," he said.
"It is unacceptable to talk about the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija as a future legal and democratic state, and so is the illegal arrival of an EU mission to the province, in order to implement the Ahtisaari plan to create a puppet state," the prime minister stressed.
He also warned that Serbia will not accept the decision not to proceed with further talks between Belgrade and Priština, and to, by recognizing a unilaterally declared independence, violate the UN Charter and Resolution 1244.
"It is also unacceptable to talk about Kosovo as a unique case, since a unilateral independence would not represent a unique case, but would rather mark the most dangerous precedent since the end of the Second World War," Koštunica stressed.
"Serbia will make its official stand on the EU summit conclusions after the UN Security Council session, after the negotiating team has submitted its report on the process," the prime minister concluded.
Also today, his foreign minister from the ranks of the Democrats, Vuk Jeremić, rejected any trade that would see Serbia accept EU membership in exchange for Kosovo.
"This Serbian government, quite simply, does not see the issue of the future status of Kosovo and Metohija and Serbia's EU future as matters that can compensate each other. In other words, it is out of the question to trade with our territory," Jeremić said.
Asked whether this is a negative response to a possible EU offer in this respect, he said that this would be "an indecent offer."
Jeremić explained that Serbia "is fighting for its vital interests, and that the preservation of territorial integrity is most certainly a vital interest," adding that, "by fighting for the preservation of its territorial integrity, Serbia is fighting for its European future."
Meanwhile, State Secretary in the Serbian Kosovo Ministry Dušan Proroković said that Belgrade would not agree to sign the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), if the recognition of Kosovo's independence was asked in return by the European Union.
"This would require that we change the Constitution, because it speaks about territorial integrity and sovereignty, and its Preamble says that Kosovo and Metohija is an integral part of Serbia while, according to some articles of the Constitution, Serbia implements the sovereignty of its institutions in the province," Proroković told a presentation of a public opinion poll by the Publikum polling agency in Tanjug's International Press Center.
He added that "no one in Serbia can give a positive response to such preconditions, because this would be a violation of the Constitution of Serbia," and added that he believed such conditions "will not even be made."
"The sole link between European integrations and the decision-making about the status of Kosovo and Metohija is, in my view, that there are EU members whose certain entities and regions are not within the EU, such as Northern Cyprus or the Faroe Islands," Proroković set out.
He stated that "there is no entity which is not a state and has not been recognized by the United Nations, and is a member of the European Union."
"The EU founding act quotes the UN Charter, whose provisions the EU is citing. It is impossible for someone to become a EU member and not be a UN member at the same time."
"This is why the integration and membership of Kosovo and Metohija in the EU is impossible without Serbia's agreement," Proroković noted, adding that this is the sole parallel between the resolution of the Kosovo issue and the EU integrations.
He pointed out that this is so "regardless of what world and European officials are saying," noting that some of their statements represent "pressure on the Serbian public."
"However, there is no legal mechanism which they could invoke to realize such political pressures," Proroković stated.
As for the results of the survey, it shows that 67 percent of Serbians support the country's EU membership.
However, only 19 percent are ready to trade joining the Union for Kosovo, while 75 percent rejects this possibility.
Koštunica: Serbia cannot be bought
Yesterday, Vojislav Koštunica said no pressure or promise of reward can force Serbia to give up its right to preserve its sovereignty.
The prime minister’s comments came in response to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s statement that Serbia should recognize Kosovo independence in order to become a member of the European Union.
In a public statement, Koštunica said that he had given his answer once and for all when he had taken oath of loyalty to Serbia and the Constitution as prime minister before parliament.
“Any Serbian prime minister would respond the same way to any suggestion that Serbia should renounce a part of its territory in return for some other benefit,” he declared.
Koštunica stressed that Serbia would not, under any form of pressure or offer of incentive, waive its right to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized frontiers.
Brown had earlier said that Belgrade’s hopes of joining the EU could depend on its readiness to accept Kosovo’s right to independence.
The British prime minister said that Serbia's goal to join the European Union could depend on whether Belgrade was prepared to accept Kosovo's "right to independence."
Speaking before a Parliamentary Select Committee, Brown called on Serbia to "strike a deal" over Kosovo’s future status, the AP news agency reported.
Brown stressed that Downing Street was in favor of the province’s supervised independence, together with guaranteed rights for the Kosovo Serbs.