Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo help turn the tide?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza, From Bad to Worse? With no Ceasefire in Sight, Conflict Spillover Felt Elsewhere (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza, From Bad to Worse? With no Ceasefire in Sight, Conflict Spillover Felt Elsewhere

Read more

EUROPE NOW

Best of Europe Now (Part 1)

Read more

ENCORE!

Clapton pays hommage to 'Cocaine' songwriter J.J. Cale

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Alexander Stubb, Prime Minister of Finland

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to MH17 victims

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Lieutenant General David Morrison, Australia's Army Chief

Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • Over 100,000 displaced in Gaza as death toll escalates

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • US, UK oppose France’s warship sale to Russia

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

  • France slams ‘anti-Semitic’ violence at pro-Palestinian rally

    Read more

  • French rugby stars attacked with machetes and swords

    Read more

  • Hollande announces new military operation in West Africa

    Read more

  • Prince George picture released to mark first birthday

    Read more

  • Kristoff wins Tour’s flat Stage 15

    Read more

Europe

Serbia agrees to EU-backed talks with Kosovo

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-09-10

Serbia has agreed to dialogue with Kosovo by supporting a landmark UN resolution which could bring cooperation between the detached states, and would also favour Belgrade in its bid to become an EU member state.

REUTERS - In a concession to the European Union that it hopes to join, Serbia supported a compromise U.N. resolution on Kosovo on Thursday that dropped its earlier demands to reopen talks on the status of its former province.
 
Instead, Serbia agreed to an EU-backed dialogue with Kosovo that the nonbinding General Assembly resolution said would aim to promote cooperation. The resolution was passed by acclamation by the 192-nation assembly.
 
Serbia lost control of Kosovo in 1999 when NATO waged a bombing campaign to halt killings of ethnic Albanians in a two-year counter-insurgency war. Kosovo declared independence in 2008, backed by the United States and most EU countries.
 
In July, in response to a Serbian request, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that Kosovo did not violate international law by declaring independence.
 
Belgrade then turned to the United Nations, submitting a resolution that said unilateral secession was unacceptable and called for a "mutually acceptable solution for all outstanding issues," assumed to include the basic one of Kosovo's status.
 
But Serbia, which has often said it will never endorse Kosovo independence, said on Wednesday it would accept a much softer text agreed with EU officials after intense lobbying in recent weeks.
 
The amended text passed by the General Assembly drops condemnation of Kosovo's independence declaration, acknowledges the ICJ opinion and welcomes EU readiness "to facilitate a process of dialogue between the parties."
 
"That dialogue would be to promote cooperation, achieve progress on the path to the European Union and improve the lives of the people," said the resolution sponsored by the 27 EU countries and by Serbia itself.
 
Assembly session delay
 
Underlining that hostility between Belgrade and Pristina is far from over, the assembly session was delayed nearly three hours as Serbia objected to the presence of Kosovo officials at the back of the chamber. Kosovo is not a U.N. member.
 
The dispute was eventually resolved when the officials were signed in as guests of five Western countries, diplomats said.
 
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, introducing the resolution, said it was neutral on Kosovo's status. Serbia "does not and shall not recognize the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo," he reaffirmed.
 
"We hope that the resolution ... would help create an atmosphere conducive to the establishment of a comprehensive compact of peace between Serbs and Albanians, achieved through good-faith dialogue," he said.
 
U.S. envoy Rosemary DiCarlo, responding to concerns raised by several countries that the ICJ ruling could encourage separatist movements around the world, said Kosovo was "a special case and not a precedent for other conflicts."
 
British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters the resolution "marks a new phase for both Serbia and Kosovo. It marks a departure from the past."
 
The European Union had warned that Serbia's original draft resolution could damage its EU membership prospects, although Western diplomats at the United Nations had said they thought that text would be defeated in the assembly.
 
Kosovo Albanians make up 90 percent of the country's population, with a Serb minority mostly in the northern areas bordering Serbia.
 
The EU wants talks to focus on practical issues such as how Kosovo trucks can enter Serbia, what curriculum is taught in Kosovo Serb schools and whether Kosovo can have its own telephone area code.
 
In Serbia, the opposition Democratic Party of Serbia has criticized the government's move, with party vice president Slobodan Samardzic calling it "a major Serbian defeat to ultimatums of the Western powers."

 

Date created : 2010-09-10

  • KOSOVO

    Serbia rejects The Hague's recognition of Kosovo’s independence

    Read more

  • KOSOVO

    Top UN court says Kosovo's breakaway from Serbia was 'legal'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)