Radicals: "Armed defense an option”

BELGRADE -- Serbian Radical Party (SRS) deputy chairman said last night the armed defense of Kosovo is an option.

Tomislav Nikolić said that the armed defense must be the last resort, should the future Kosovo status talks produce independence for the province.

“We have already had a chance to defend Kosovo against much stronger enemies”, Nikolić said in an interview with the Serbian state television (RTS), stressing that armed defense is the last option and that diplomacy must be given every chance.

Nikolić said that the Radicals will take it to the streets and lead the citizens against the Serbian prime minister and president, Boris Tadić and Vojislav Koštunica, should they fail to start with preparations to return Kosovo to Serbia, in case of a declaration of independence. “I wouldn’t say that Tadić and Koštunica are the only responsible here, Kosovo can be snatched from anyone, but what I would like to know is, what happens the day after”, he said.

According to Nikolić, the SRS is ready for a new form of autonomy for Kosovo to be arranged through the new constitution, and would allow the province to have control over the three branches of government, collection and distribution of income, but would fall short of allowing it to have a military of its own.

"Nikolić can neither threaten nor advise"

The Democratic party (DS) deputy chairman Dušan Petrović said that Tomislav Nikolić has no right to threaten, nor advise on how Serbia should cope with the consequences of the decisions made by Milošević’s governments: “Nikolić has no moral leg to stand on when it comes to making decisions that influence the fate of the Serbian nation and I daresay the citizens will not grant him such powers”.

Commenting on Nikolić’s statement that Kosovo’s armed defense should be the last resort in case of a declaration of independence, Petrović said that SRS’s actions have had consequences for the past fifteen years, and that this statement will without a doubt produce consequences of its own.