Serbia says ready to grant broad autonomy to Kosovo
( RIA Novosti ) - Serbia is ready to grant broad autonomy to Kosovo, but only if the province remains under Serbian sovereignty, the president of a parliamentary commission said Monday.
Dusan Prorokovic, head of the commission for Kosovo and Metohija, made the statement ahead of a Contact Group meeting in Belgrade for preliminary consultations Thursday. The group involves Russia, the United States, and the European Union.
"The compromise will depend on the upcoming negotiations and on the position of Kosovo Albanians," Prorokovic said, adding that Kosovo must remain part of Serbia and there could be no discussion here.
He said the pre-dominantly Albanian province, which has been under a UN protectorate since the 1998 NATO bombings of Yugoslavia, could be given relative economic independence and allowed to have its own representatives in Serbian state structures, just like Scotland in the United Kingdom or the Faroe Islands in Denmark.
"It would be an autonomy guaranteed by international law and unprecedented in the region," he said.
The EU and the U.S. have backed Kosovo's drive for independence but Russia, a veto-wielding member in the UN Security Council and a traditional ally of Serbia, has blocked their efforts to achieve this goal.