Kosovo is our Jerusalem, Jeremić says in Israel

TEL AVIV, JERUSALEM -- Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić said in Israel Thursday an imposed Kosovo solution will destabilize Serbia.

The chief of Serbian diplomacy was delivering a lecture at the Lauder School for Government and Diplomacy in Tel Aviv.

The imposing of a solution for Kosovo in contradiction with Serbia's vital interests would fundamentally destabilize Serbia's democracy and have grave consequences for the region, he explained, Beta reports.

"Kosovo is our Jerusalem," said Jeremić, who is paying a two-day visit to Israel, started yesterday with a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

Jeremić said Serbia was dedicated to full reconciliation with the Kosovo Albanians and more prepared than ever for greater flexibility in the traditional comprehension of sovereignty, in order to reach an agreement with them.

"Serbia does not want to rule the Kosovo Albanians in any way," he said, adding that Belgrade does not want to interfere in Priština's relations with international financial organizations, and that Kosovo could have separate membership in sports federations and representative offices abroad.

In order for a solution to be found that is acceptable to both sides, they have to be offered a "symmetrical package of measures," Jeremić said, adding that this meant that those who threaten to resort to violence in case of the non-fulfillment of their "extremist demands," must be excluded from negotiations, and not rewarded by a favored position at the table and political support.

Jeremić held separate meetings earlier in the day with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, from which he emerged optimistic that Israel will not be one of he countries to recognize Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence, should it occur.

"The Israeli side has shown exceptional understanding for our position and confirmed the necessity to continue the negotiating process. Even in case the Kosovo Albanians make a unilateral, illegal move and declare independence, Israel will not be one of the countries to recognize it, but will instead carefully consider its next moves," Jeremić said after the meetings in Jerusalem.

The foreign minister said he told his interlocutors that Serbia wished to see the negotiating process continue, and that it worked to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty.