Hungary calls for Kosovo to assure rights of Serb minority

Other News Materials 17 February 2008 21:50 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Hungary on Sunday called on Kosovo to ensure minority rights and abide by the conditions of a United Nations plan after the breakaway Serbian province had earlier declared independence during an emergency parliamentary session.

" Hungary considers it particularly important that Kosovo remains committed to the fundamentals and values of the Ahtisaari plan, thus ensuring the creation and operation of democracy ... and ensuring minority rights," Hungary's Foreign Minister Kinga Goncz said in a statement.

In 2007, UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari proposed a political settlement giving Kosovo independence in return for sweeping rights for the province's Serb minority, which makes up around 10 per cent of the population.

Serbia's ally, Russia, blocked that plan in the UN, and subsequent talks between Belgrade and Pristina failed to reach a settlement before a UN deadline of December 10.

Rather than recognize Kosovo as independent on a bilateral level, Goncz said Hungary was urging a "common EU standpoint" on the independence announcement that would strengthen regional stability.

Hungary, as a neighbour of Serbia and also with a significant ethnic Hungarian minority in the Serbian province of Vojvodina, has a particular interest in stability in the region.