"Authorities will ask people — Kosovo or EU"

BELGRADE -- The state is deciding on the further steps in its Kosovo policy, to be taken after the United Nations General Assembly, the media in Belgrade are reporting.

Should Brussels - i.e., the European Union (EU) - insist on Serbia's recognition of Kosovo as independent - "the citizens will decide" - Belgrade's Večernje Novosti daily writes on Tuesday, hinting at a possibility of a referendum.

Top state officials are "completely aware" that the policy of defending Kosovo and attempting to join the EU had "hit the wall", after a delegation of the ruling German party last week in Belgrade delivered their country's demands that Serbia should meet to continue its EU integrations. One of them is for Serbia to establish "good neighborly relations" with the territory its Constitution defines as its province.

Now, sources with the government and the presidency in Belgrade told the newspaper that should this condition, that amounts to Serbia de fact recognizing Kosovo, be presented in a direct manner - "it is not ruled out that the citizens of Serbia themselves could decide".

"Only the citizens could decide on a dilemma like this, that would make decision on the defense of the Constitution and territorial integrity, and the state's strategic direction on the other hand," the sources were quoted as saying.

It is expected that immediately after attending UN General Assembly sessions in New York, President Tomislav Nikolić will gather together top officials, opposition leaders and most important state institutions in order to harmonize a policy that Serbia will adopt to face "great challenges ahead".

According to the newspaper the ruling parties will as soon as in early October initiate broad consultations, with the goal of establishing a national consensus when it comes to the next moves concerning Serbia's southern province.

Before this happens, Serbian officials will, while in New York, try to "feel the pulse" of their counterparts from powerful countries concerning Serbia's policy toward Kosovo and the EU.