( Reuters ) - Serbs in Kosovo do not trust the government of their newly declared independent state and should be allowed to participate in local Serbian elections next month, Serbian President Boris Tadic said on Monday.
Serbia, which says it will never recognize Kosovo's Feb. 17 declaration of independence, will hold local and parliamentary elections on May 11.
The United Nations, which has administered Kosovo since 1999, says the participation of Kosovo Serbs in Serbia's local elections would violate U.N. rules and would not be valid.
But in the written text of remarks prepared for delivery at a Security Council briefing on Kosovo, Tadic said it was vital for Kosovo Serbs to be able to vote in the local elections.
"We believe it is important that everywhere in Kosovo, where (Serb) citizens recognize the Republic of Serbia as their state, they choose in a democratic way their own municipal, as well as parliamentary, representatives," Tadic said.
The U.N. mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has indicated it did not object to Kosovo Serbs voting in the parliamentary election as they have done before, but Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders say local polls were a threat to the sovereignty of the new state.
Officially, UNMIK remains in control of Kosovo.
Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci, who fought in the 1998-1999 guerrilla war against Serbia, was also due to address the closed-door session of the council -- albeit as a private citizen and not as Kosovo's leader, council diplomats said.
Tadic said Kosovo Serbs did not trust authorities in Pristina, nor would they cooperate with a mission of European Union police and justice officials (EULEX) that plans to formally take over from the United Nations in June.
The European Union decided in February to deploy a 2,200-strong mission to help build Kosovo's institutions, intended to replace UNMIK, even though some EU member states -- similar to Serbia and Russia - have not recognized Kosovo.
"Kosovo Serbs are not prepared to cooperate with EULEX (EU police and justice mission) until it receives an explicit mandate from the U.N. Security Council," Tadic told the council, which was meeting to discuss UNMIK and Kosovo.