Skip to main content

Serbia defiant as Kosovo breakaway looms

  • Story Highlights
  • Serbia tells U.N. it will never recognize an independent Kosovo
  • Province of Kosovo expected to declare independence within days
  • Serbian foreign minister calls independence a violation of territorial integrity
  • Serbs see Kosovo as birthplace of the Serbian nation
  • Next Article in World »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- Serbia defiantly told the United Nations on Thursday that it will never allow Kosovo to become independent -- despite U.S. and European Union support for the province to make the move.

Kosovo has been under U.N. control since a NATO-led invasion in 1999 to drive out Serbian forces who were brutally repressing an uprising of the majority ethnic Albanian population.

In January, a coalition government that strongly backs independence from Serbia took over and promised independence "in weeks."

Serbia remains vehemently opposed to the split and called the meeting of the Security Council -- where they have the support of Russia -- to discuss Kosovo's status.

According to a transcript, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said: "Let me be very clear. The Republic of Serbia shall never accept any violation of its territorial integrity.

"We shall never recognize Kosovo's independence. We shall not waiver, we shall not yield, should this cowardly act proceed unchecked. Not now. Not in a year. Not in a decade. Never."

Jeremic said that if Kosovo declares independence, "we shall undertake all diplomatic, political and economic measures designed to impede and reverse this direct and unprovoked attack on our sovereignty."

Kosovo is a province of Serbia, which in turn used to be part of Yugoslavia before it split apart -- sometimes peacefully, sometimes violently -- in the 1990s.

Don't Miss

Generally, Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanian population seeks independence; its minority Serb population wants to stay with Serbia, and it was that clash that was at the center of then-Yugoslavia's crackdown in 1999.

NATO warplanes pushed those forces back in a short conflict, and control of the province was handed to the United Nations. Now, Kosovo is widely expected to announce independence this weekend.

The United States and European Union are expected to recognize Kosovo independence.

Ricardo Alberto Arias, acting Security Council president and Panama's U.N. ambassador, told reporters. "I don't foresee the Security Council has the capacity in itself to reach further agreement or further accords."

U.S. Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff said after the meeting: "We all had wanted a solution achieved for both parties. The simple fact is, the parties are irreconcilable."

Serbs view Kosovo as the spiritual birthplace of the Serbian nation.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said: "The greatest humiliation for Serbia would be to give even indirect consent to the existence of this puppet creation on its territory."

"Kosovo belongs solely and only to Serbia," he said. "Kosovo is ours and we will never give it to anyone."

Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic held a meeting with European ambassadors Thursday and reiterated that Serbia would never recognize the independence of Kosovo, a government statement said.

Russia opposes independence and plans to use its position as a permanent Security Council member to veto any resolutions supporting Kosovo.

advertisement

In his final news conference as Russian president Thursday, Vladimir Putin accused Europe of having double standards, pointing to other regions such as the Basque region on the Spanish-French border where the EU does not support independence.

"You've been always telling us Kosovo is allegedly a special case. That's not true, that's a lie," he said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About KosovoSerbiaHashim Thaci

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print