05 June 2007

Serbia insists on respect of UN Charter and international law



Source: Government of Serbia

Date: 07 Feb 2007


Belgrade, Feb 7, 2007 - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said today that Serbia will continue to be constructive when it comes to negotiations on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija, but also intransigent in its position that the UN Charter and the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty be respected in the case of Serbia too.


Speaking at a press conference held after the meeting with the EU Three - German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, Kostunica said that today's talks focused on the future status of Kosovo and Serbia's European Integration. Kostunica underlined that Serbia is firmly committed to continue on its road to Europe.


He said that since the proposal for the future status of Kosovo-Metohija drawn up by UN Special Representative Martti Ahtisaari was presented to Belgrade a few days ago, he gave the first evaluations and analyses of this document, which will be presented to Serbian parliament after its formation. This body will give its opinion on the document, a mandate for negotiations and it will also form a negotiating team.


The Serbian Prime Minister said that the proposal of the future status of Kosovo followed the negotiations that were held in Vienna last year, only at one single session, held on July 24, when there was a chance to touch on the issue of the province's future status.


Ahtisaari's proposal, observed as a whole, but in terms of annexes as well, shows that majority of Serbia's requests were not accepted, Kostunica explained, adding that the first part of the proposal that refers to the future status of Kosovo-Metohija, does not proceed from the negotiations conducted in Vienna.


According to Kostunica, in Ahtisaari's proposal it can be seen that he departs from the mandate given to him by the UN, because Ahtisaari proposes the future status of Serbia without Kosovo-Metohija, that is, through the creation of an independent Kosovo-Metohija and a new, second Albanian state in the territory of Serbia, by snatching away a part of its territory.


In this proposal, Ahtisaari did not deal with the only thing that falls within his mandate, and that is the future status of Kosovo-Metohija, with the respect for the UN Charter and the provisions on territorial sovereignty and integrity, and for the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which also confirms the territorial sovereignty and integrity of Serbia, Kostunica stressed.


Kostunica pointed to the fact that the proposal contains no element of compromise between Belgrade and Pristina, which is, according to him, easy to achieve, but under one condition, that it should be sought within the frameworks of international law and the UN Charter.


He reiterated that if the UN Charter is overlooked and the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty of existing states upon which international order is based is not respected, then compromise is impossible.


The solution for the issue of Kosovo-Metohija, whatever it might be, can not be an isolated case and will certainly affect many other countries. This is a most serious precedent for all countries which could find themselves in a similar situation, therefore this issue is not important just for Serbia, but is of importance for regional and global stability, stressed Kostunica.


The Serbian Prime Minister said that Serbian parliament will declare itself regarding this matter in a few days, and added that these few days are needed for the formation of parliament which will come forward with a platform and a negotiating team.


He pointed to the fact that Ahtisaari has presented a proposal regarding the future status of Kosovo-Metohija at a moment when Serbia does not have a new parliament, nor a newly elected government, which makes it necessary to postpone negotiations for a minimum period of time, so that Serbian parliament can hold session to examine the issue of Kosovo-Metohija.


When it comes to the issue of European integration, Kostunica reiterated that Serbia is firmly determined to continue negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), which is proved by all that has been done in Serbia during the past period and previous few years.


He reminded that serious legislative reforms were implemented in Serbia, the new Constitution was adopted, fair and democratic elections were held according to the Constitution, economic stability and growth, and security for foreign investment was also achieved.


Serbia is taking all necessary steps so that when negotiations are continued and the issue of formal membership in the EU comes up, the country is entirely ready for it, said Kostunica.


He concluded that political will does exist, and all other measures have been taken and negotiations on the SAA and visa relaxations have proved Serbia's capacity and quality.


Steinmeier said that it is not easy to solve the Kosovo issue, but that the EU believes that the proposal of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari creates a good basis for further talks.


He added that the EU is also happy that parties of democratic orientation won a two-third majority at the recently held elections in Serbia, adding that this carries a great responsibility and an obligation to continue strengthening the legal state and carrying out democratic reforms in Serbia.


In that sense, the EU expects that Serbia will soon compose a new democratic government and convene a new parliament, in which process EU sincerely endorses Serbia's efforts to continue on the road to European integration, Steinmeier said.


He said that Serbia is going through a very important historical moment in which it is to bring some very important decisions, and once more he pointed to the fact that the EU considers Serbia a part of Europe.


Solana stressed that the EU is willing to continue negotiations on the SAA with Serbia, and added that Serbia needs to form a new democratic government as soon as possible for that.


He said that the matter was discussed in today's talks with Kostunica, and expressed satisfaction with the fact that Kostunica showed willingness and determination to work intensively towards resolving the question of formation of parliament and the new government.


Rehn also pointed to the importance of continuing negotiations on the SAA, and the importance of forming a new parliament and government in that context, which would be equally devoted to the aims which are of paramount importance to Serbia, and these are full cooperation for continuing negotiations on the SAA, as well as full cooperation with the Hague tribunal.


He reiterated that Serbia has full support of the EU, which is reflected in today's meeting is Belgrade.