Serbia will not give up Kosovo to become EU member, - Boris Tadic

Other News Materials 3 August 2008 18:31 (UTC +04:00)

Serbia's main goal is membership in the European Union (EU) but it will not give up Kosovo for it, President Boris Tadic said Sunday, dpa reported.

The former Serbian province of Kosovo declared independence in February. More than 40 countries, including the United States and the majority of EU members, recognized an independent Kosovo. Serbia opposes it bitterly.

"If somebody thinks that this pro-European government will give up defending its national interests for its European perspective, than that person is wrong," Tadic said at a press conference in Belgrade.

After May 11 snap elections Tadic's pro-European bloc and the late strongman Slobodan Milosevic's Socialists formed a government whose main goal is EU membership.

Serbia still hasn't ratified a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU - a first step towards membership - but aims to become a member state by 2014.

Days after the forming of the new government, Serbia arrested and extradited former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Belgrade needs to arrest the remaining two fugitives Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic in order for Brussels to approve the SAA with Belgrade.

Tadic said that Serbia will keep fighting for Kosovo using all diplomatic means. He added that cooperation with The Hague means that Serbia is protecting its national interests.