Tadic rules out possibility of military interference in Kosovo

President Boris Tadic rules out a possibility of Serbia's military interference in Kosovo.

" Serbia's armed forces will act in compliance with domestic and international legislation," Tadic said on Wednesday. He visited military facilities in the security area adjacent to the administrative border with Kosovo.

"We'll never send our soldiers to senseless wars. Many people would like Serbia to be involved in a war, a new violence that would, finally, lead to Kosovo's losses of lives. But the democratic authorities will never do this," the Serbian president said. Tadic said that a military interference of the Serbian army in Kosovo would cause a confrontation with the international community and the final loss of that territory.

"We will not take steps, which will doom us to failure, no matter how much extremists on both sides would like that," he said in an interview with the military magazine Odbrana.

Serbia has not had a concept of co-existence with Kosovo Albanians until now, and Belgrade is trying to change the situation at direct negotiations with the Kosovo administration, Tadic said.

"Our active policy aims to create conditions for a mutually acceptable solution, which would give Serbia a clear prospect of the European integration without territorial changes and a breach of sovereignty," he said. "Political forces, which insist on the isolation of Serbia, still exist. They will exist forever, but it is the most important to achieve their defeat at the negotiations and continue the integration," he said.

In the opinion of Tadic, the association with the European Union will not automatically entail NATO membership, "but the international position of Serbia differs a lot from the position of other EU member countries, which abstain from entering into the alliance."

The question of Serbia's possible accession to NATO will be put on referendum at an appropriate time, Tadic said.

The U.N. Security Council fully controls Kosovo's problem, Russian permanent representative to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin said.

NATO and the EU "have no powers to solve this problem," Churkin said. Commenting on mass media reports saying on January 19, the U.N. Security Council would refuse to take a resolution on Kosovo and give this issue to the European Union, the Russian ambassador said, "This does not respond to reality."

"It's the U.N. Security Council that can take decisions (on Kosovo) that may (in the future) be accepted by Belgrade and Pristina," Churkin said.

In addition, Europe's possible military and civilian presence in Kosovo should give a mandate from the U.N. Security Council, he added. "Everything should be properly formalised," the Russian diplomat pointed out.

Kosovo's fate is not a prerogative of NATO and the European Union. "The EU wish to open its mission in Kosovo should be added by the U.N. Security Council mandate," Churkin said.

It is very important because, according to certain statements by EU representatives, the Union's presence in the province "would not only reinforce the civilian presence but also de facto raise a question of changing Kosovo's status, i.e. to move from the present broad autonomy that the civilian presence should ensure to building independent Kosovo", the Russian ambassador said.

"It should be clear that Kosovo's problem was not beyond the U.N. Security Council framework," he said. This topic is being discussed every day at the Security Council, Churkin added. "To this end, there is no need to convene the Council's sessions," the diplomat explained.

In his words, Kosovo's problem is regularly on the agenda of the talks with the U.N. leadership. "On Friday evening, I had a meeting with the U.N. secretary-general and we focused on Kosovo's topic once again," the diplomat said. But he declined to elaborate.

Discussions on Kosovo's dossier at the U.N. Security Council session on December 19 proved that certain partners continue making attempts to move it beyond the U.N. Security Council framework, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov told Itar-Tass .

"This is a very troublesome tendency, which is in discord with the generally recognised norms of the settlement of the crisis. The EU and NATO statements to solve the Kosovar problem does not respond to the competence of these organisations," the high-ranking diplomat stressed.

" Russia and other members of the U.N. Security Council call for continuing the sides between the two sides that we intend to build in compliance with our initiative on working out the roadmap," Titov pointed out.

"We maintain permanent contacts with our Western partners. We hope that we realise the ruinous consequences of Kosovo's unilateral sovereignty circumvent the U.N.," the deputy foreign minister said. "Discussions will be continued at the upcoming session of the U.N. Security Council early in January 2008 that will focus on a report by the U.N. Mission in Kosovo," he added.

The discussion of the Kosovo issue at the UN Security Council showed an emerging crisis between EU countries, officials at the Serbian Embassy in Moscow told Itar-Tass.

"As the discussion of the Kosovo issue at the UN Security Council has shown, the key EU members are ready to resolve the problem in accordance with the Ahtisaari plan," a Serbian diplomat said.

"This plan is absolutely unacceptable for Serbia. Belgrade noted with satisfaction that not all EU countries were ready to agree to Kosovo independence. This shows a maturing crisis of the European community," he noted.

"The EU has once again to think about how the decision on possible independence of Kosovo might influence not only the situation in the Balkans but also the situation inside the European Union," he went on to say.

"Yesterday's discussion clearly showed how difficult the Kosovo issue is and how right Russia is with respect to Serbia and Kosovo. If there is no UN Security Council decision on the status of Kosovo and Metohija, any other decision will be put in doubt," the diplomat said.

The Embassy underlined that " Serbia is ready for negotiations." Belgrade is hoping that "reason will prevail and everything will be resolved in Serbia's favour, in favour of continuing talks with the Albanian side."

"If the UN SC does not make a principled decision, then a question arises: what kind of organization is that?" an embassy official said.

On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council failed to reach a common view on the status of Kosovo and was unable to bring the positions of Belgrade and Pristina closer together. The Council discussed a report of the "troika" group of international mediators on the status of Serbia's province behind the closed doors for three hours.

The report states that the four-month talks between Belgrade and Pristina brokered by the European Union, Russia and the United States produced no results. They began on the initiative of Russia after it refused to approve the Martti Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo at the U.N. Security Council. The plan provides for granting internationally supervised independence to the Serb province.

The discussion was attended by Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and the representative of the Kosovo Albanians Fatmir Sejidu. The sides hold diametrically opposite views on Kosovo's future and don't intend to compromise. The Serbian prime minister said his country would defend its sovereignty and insist that the talks be continued. The representative of the Kosovo Albanians reiterated that Kosovo would proclaim its independence unilaterally.

The European Union and the United States said the European Union and NATO were ready to take responsibility for Kosovo's future. Their joint statement says the solution of the Kosovo problem should be unique and shouldn't create a precedent for other situations.

The United States and Britain claim that with the absence of consensus within the U.N. Security Council and with a lack of agreement between the Serbs and the Albanians the plan suggested by U.N. special envoy Martti Ahtisaari remained the only possible option. The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmai Halilzad said the U.N. Security Council resolution 1244, which authorizes the U.N. presence in Kosovo, allows for the implementation of the Ahtisaari plan.

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Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 42 times
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Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 53 times
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