Tadić, Abbas on Kosovo, Middle East

BELGRADE -- Boris Tadić and Mahmoud Abbas agree that the Kosovo question and the Israeli-Palestinian crisis can be resolved by upholding international law.

Abbas and Tadić are seen in Belgrade (Tanjug)
Abbas and Tadić are seen in Belgrade (Tanjug)

The presidents of Serbia and the Palestinian Authority agreed that conflicts around the world, including in Kosovo and the Middle East, could be settled through negotiations and without imposed solutions.

Abbas, who is in Belgrade at Tadić’s invitation, said that the two countries had several decades of good relations behind them, forged through the Non-Aligned Movement, adding that he hoped that the movement’s 50th anniversary in 2011 would be marked with a summit in Serbia.

“We are looking for a way to resolve these problems in a peaceful way, by upholding international law. We cannot impose solutions nor can we accept imposed solutions. That is why we must negotiate,” Abbas said.

“I am counting on you, Mr. President, to continue supporting efforts to reach a solution in the Middle East through talks with Israel, that will enable Israel and Palestine to live side-by-side and cooperate as neighbors,” he said.

Tadić announced a new initiative whereby Serbia would be offering scholarships to Palestinian students.

He said that there could only be long-term stabilization in the Middle East through a negotiated agreement for all interested sides, adding that the same applied to Kosovo.

“Kosovo is not a religious, put a purely political question, that is being considered by the International Court of Justice,” Tadić said.

He said that Palestine and Serbia based their stances on compliance with UN resolutions and international law.

Daily Politika’s Middle East analyst Borivoje Erdeljan told B92 that improved relations between Serbia and Palestine were in the best interests of both countries.

“What we can hear from Palestinian sources is that Abbas is coming with the idea that Palestine has done a lot for Serbia in outlining the Kosovo question to Islamic and Arab countries, and now expects Serbia to be more active in support of various political efforts, which depend chiefly on possible bilateral Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and agreement,” Erdeljan said.

Abbas will meet in Belgrade with Tadić and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić.

He is also expected to confer with Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković and Parliamentary Speaker Slavica Đukić-Dejanović, according to the Palestinian embassy in Belgrade.