Serbia will never recognize Kosovo, minister tells MPs
Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanović has said that "no one was asking Serbia to recognize Kosovo's self-proclaimed independence in order to join the EU".Source: Tanjug
Speaking during a parliament session in Belgrade on Thursday, he also asserted that the Serbian government would never do so.
Answering questions on Serbia's policy on Kosovo, submitted by the opposition Serb Radical Party (SRS) MPs, Bogdanović pointed out the Serbian government had no intention of recognizing the self-proclaimed independence of the province in any way, and he did not see the talks between Belgrade and Priština as confirmation of independence.
"Everybody understands the government has one policy, which is based on the Constitution and parliamentary resolutions from 2007 and 2008. Do we want to recognize Kosovo - no," the minister stressed.
Bogdanović pointed out the only purpose of the talks between Belgrade and Priština was to ensure a better life for all people in Kosovo, Serbs first of all.
"For this reason, the government does not consider these talks a confirmation of independence. On the contrary, we believe this is in the interest of Serbs in the province, and therefore of the Republic of Serbia," Bogdanović said, adding he sees no solution for the everyday problems faced by Serbs other than dialogue.
The minister said Serbia did not consider Kosovo's status a done deal and expected the crucial issue would be discussed in the talks after the technical section was completed.
SRS had called for a questions session in parliament, at which government officials provided answers related to Kosovo, cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and military alliances.
The Radicals claim Belgrade has in effect recognized Kosovo's independence by entering a dialogue with Priština, which they believe to be in violation of the Serbian Constitution.
"No census in north"
Meanwhile, Bogdanović's State Secretary at the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija Oliver Ivanović reacted to the publication of the results of the census conducted by the Kosovo Albanian authorities in Priština in the north of the province, by saying that there had been no census in this mostly Serb area of Kosovo at all.
He added that the Kosovo Albanians tried to legalize ethnic cleansing by publishing census results.
Ivanović said there has been no census in the north of the province, since the attitude of the population was "more than clear" - they were "unwilling to accept anything that comes from Priština".
Following these results, according to which the province has nearly 1.8 million inhabitants, Ivanović said that that figure included about ten thousand Serbs and 20,000 other non-Albanians, so that the number of Albanians themselves is under 1.7 million.