Speaker: Serbia wants talks, won't accept secession

QUEBEC CITY -- Serbian Parliament Speaker Nebojša Stefanović has said that Serbia cannot and will not accept Kosovo's secession.

Nebojša Stefanović addresses the gathering in Quebec (Beta/AP)
Nebojša Stefanović addresses the gathering in Quebec (Beta/AP)

Speaking in Quebec, Canada, he also noted that the country will be fully involved in the talks with Priština, "which should be accepted by all Albanians and Serbs, and not just the political elite".

Stefanović, who leads the Serbian delegation taking party in the assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, made the statement during his address focused on citizenship, identity and cultural diversity in a globalized world.

Integration and recognition of the needs of ethnic and religious minorities is a significant issue for Serbia, and there are many institutions besides the government with which people identify nowadays, like the church and interest groups, the speaker noted, according to his office.

Stefanović stressed the importance of the parliament, because it represents the people through democratic elections, adding that the assembly of Serbia's northern province of Vojvodina had six official languages, "taking the second place in that respect in Europe, since only the European Parliament had more".

Serbia is proud of that fact, he concluded, underscoring that diversity, national identity or language could not be arguments for secession.

He quoted former U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt, who said said that in order for civilization to survive, the people had to foster the science of human relations, the ability of all nations to live together, in the same world, a world of peace.

Stefanović met with the delegations of Canada, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nigeria, the UK, Japan, Australia, and Argentina.