Southeastern Europe meet averts blowup over Kosovo

Other News Materials 21 May 2008 23:04 (UTC +04:00)

A conference of Balkan leaders Wednesday averted a blowup over Kosovo after Serbian President Boris Tadic threatened to veto any recognition of Kosovo's independence, dpa reported.

Delegates to the South East European Co-operation Process meeting agreed on a final statement that said participating countries have differing positions on Kosovo, news reports said. The former Serb province declared independence in March.

Serbia wants to cooperate with countries in the region and aims to join the European Union, but with Kosovo as "a region of Serbia," Tadic told the meeting in the Bulgarian Black Sea town of Pomorie.

Bulgarian President Sergei Stanishev emphasized that Serbian and Kosovo delegates sat at the same table and said the three-day gathering evoked "a new spirit of reconciliation."

"To me it is of extreme importance that we managed to come up with a joint text," Bulgaria's BTA news agency quoted Stanishev as saying at a closing news conference.

Leaders of the loose grouping meet usually every year. Member countries include Turkey, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Moldova.

Tadic's pro-European bloc won the most votes in this month's Serbian parliamentary elections, but not enough to form a government. Coalition talks in Belgrade could produce a pro-EU leadership or a hard-line nationalist one.