20 April 2007

Serbia offers interior independence to Kosovo-Metohija



Source: Government of Serbia

Date: 29 Jan 2007


Belgrade, Jan 29, 2007 - Advisor to the Serbian Prime Minister and coordinator of the state team for negotiations on Kosovo's future status Slobodan Samardzic stated today that Serbia offers interior independence to ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo-Metohija through an agreement which would symbolically preserve "the membrane of Serbian sovereignty" over the issue of the province.


In an interview for the Reuters agency, Samardzic said that Serbia only needs respect of its borders, adding that interior organisation of the state may ensure maximum flexibility.


He explained that Belgrade will not govern all other issues related to the vital interests of ethnic Albanians, such as economic, social and cultural ones. He also stressed that these issues could be directly related to financial institutions.


Belgrade's plan does not insist that Serbia controls the border and this matter could be left to international police, said Samardzic and stressed that the Serbian side does not demand that its army and police return to the province.


He said that in ten years' time, Serbia's and Kosovo-Metohija's membership in the EU would reduce the importance of borders and equalise the monetary and customs policy.


Samardzic noted that Belgrade has not been offered the chance to come up with its own suggestions and added that applying pressure is not a good way to solve this issue in the next few months, as the West is doing now.


The problem of Kosovo is 100 years old and Ahtisaari provided only three hours of Serbian-Albanian status talks last year with a note that it was the meeting of the deaf.


Serbia's plan is a multi-layered plan of administration under the umbrella of Belgrade, he said and concluded that Europe is brimming with successful self-determination stories with no secession.