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Serbian FM criticizes tensions sewn by Kosovo, calls for investigations into organ theft allegations

Other News Materials 13 May 2011 03:36 (UTC +04:00)
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic on Thursday said that he favors continuing a new round of dialogue with Kosovo, but slammed Kosovo for causing tensions with ethnic Serbs within its borders.
Serbian FM criticizes tensions sewn by Kosovo, calls for investigations into organ theft allegations

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic on Thursday said that he favors continuing a new round of dialogue with Kosovo, but slammed Kosovo for causing tensions with ethnic Serbs within its borders, Xinhua reported.

Jeremic's statement came at an open meeting of the UN Security Council on the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

The Serbian foreign minister also called on the 15-nation Security Council to follow up on allegations of organ trafficking in Kosovo.

"We believe it is critical for all responsible stakeholders on the ground, together with the Security Council, to reaffirm support for UNMIK as an indispensable pillar of peace and stability," he said.

Jeremic said that EU-brokered talks that have opened between Belgrade and Pristina in recent months provide a significant opportunity for the two governments to resolve outstanding issues.

Kosovo and Serbia have remained at odds since the 1980s, with the rise of Albanian nationalism in Kosovo, which was then a province of Serbia in the former Yugoslavia.
"We hope that the forward momentum will be maintained, strengthening the spirit of compromise that holds the key to success in this endeavor," Jeremic said of the current talks.

The discussions between Belgrade and Pristina have thus far touched on civil registry, cadastral records, telecommunications, electricity, civil aviation, and issues of freedom of movement, he informed the Security Council.

"Serbia will remain a constructive participant in the dialogue, and will continue to offer multiple proposals for each topic," he said.

Jeremic said that Serbia still does not accept the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) that Kosovo issued in February 2008, which was upheld in an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in July 2010.

"I would like to once again reaffirm my government's position on the UDI," he said. "We do not and we shall not recognize it, explicitly or implicitly. This is mandated by the democratic will of the people of Serbia and enshrined in our constitution."

Meanwhile, the Serbian foreign minister thanked the UN member states that stand behind Serbia in its rejection of the UDI.

"We urge them to maintain their principled position, thus ensuring that unilateral attempts to impose outcomes to ethnic and territorial disputes are not legitimized -- and thereby preventing Kosovo's UDI from becoming a dangerous and destabilizing precedent, " he said. "This will also contribute to maintaining a healthy international environment within which the negotiations between Serbia and Pristina can continue."

Jeremic criticized authorities in Kosovo for violating the will of the majority -- the Serb population in the north of Kosovo.

"The province's ethnic-Albanian authorities have repeatedly sought to extend the reach of their Pristina-based institutions to North Kosovo against the will of the local population, including multiple attempts to deploy heavily-armed special police units," he said.

He quoted the latest report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Kosovo, which said that such activities have "increased tensions" in the area.

"The report also states that the majority-Serb community of North Kosovo perceives these provocations as 'not being dictated by rule of law considerations but rather as bring intended to intimidate the local population and impose Pristina structures upon them without their consent,'" Jeremic said.

The Serbian foreign minister also spoke on the subject of a recent report titled "Inhuman Treatment of People and Illicit Trafficking in Human Organs in Kosovo."

The report, which was approved by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, alleges that members of the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had a part in abducting hundreds of Serbs and stealing their organs to sell, before letting them die, during the time of the 1999 conflict.

Jeremic said that the Security Council should create a mechanism to investigate the claims, because other institutions lack the global reach necessary to conduct such an investigation on their own.

He explained that Serbia is determined to seek the truth about the alleged war crimes, not just for the sake of justice, but also for the sake of creating sustainable peace in the region.

"We will not rest or retreat until the full truth about what happened is uncovered," he said.

"This is our solemn obligation to all the victims of this terrible inhumanity, and to their families. We shall not let them down. This also constitutes an integral part of the reconciliation process, and is itself a prerequisite to establishing a lasting peace between Serbs and Albanians in the Balkans."

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