Serbia asks for UN support in reversing Kosovo independence

Other News Materials 23 September 2008 22:56 (UTC +04:00)

Serbia's President Boris Tadic asked the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to support his country's request for a legal review of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence, dpa reported.

Tadic said Serbia has renounced use of force to retain Kosovo, which it still claims as its province.

A draft resolution asks the 192-nation assembly to support Belgrade's request to the International Court of Justice at The Hague for an advisory opinion on whether Kosovo's independence is legal.

Belgrade said it will abide by the court's decision. But the undertone is that the ICJ would side with Belgrade that the declaration of independence violated Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February and has been recognized by more than 40 governments, including the United States and many European nations. Albanian ethnics form the majority of Kosovo's population, with Serbs and minorities constituting only 5 per cent.

Belgrade said countries that recognized Kosovo also violated its sovereignty, and Serbia has called on countries that have recognized Kosovo to rescind their decision.

"We believe that sending the Kosovo question to the ICJ would prevent this crisis from serving as a deeply problematic precedent in any part of the globe where secessionist ambitions are harboured," Tadic said.

"We also believe that an ICJ advisory opinion would provide politically neutral, yet judicially authoritative guidance, to many countries still deliberating on how to approach Kosovo's independence in line with international law," he said.

While asking for UN support, Tadic warned that if the assembly was to vote against the draft resolution, it would "in effect vote to deny the right of any country, now or in the future, to seek judicial recourse through the UN system."

He said a vote against Serbia would mean "the end of the UN system as we know it."