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Serb official suggests partition of Kosovo

Serb official suggests partition of Kosovo

Serbia's deputy prime minister has suggested Kosovo should be partitioned between its majority ethnic Albanians and Serbs, triggering sharp criticism Monday from Serb nationalists who consider the former Serbian province an integral part of the country.
Ivica Dacic told the Kosovo daily Zeri over the weekend that the partition of Kosovo along ethnic lines was a private suggestion which could help peacefully resolve tensions and political deadlock between Belgrade and Pristina.
Kosovo's Deputy Prime Minister rejected the suggestion Monday, saying it would revamp old animosities in the region and lead to renewed conflict.
"Kosovo will not be part of ideas that generate new crises that may then spread in the entire region and lead to the loss of energy and the loss of people's lives," Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuqi told The Associated Press.
"The best option is integration into the European Union," Kuqi said. "We urge Serbia's government to align its internal positions and offer new chapters of cooperation and not of confrontation."
Kosovo officials have previously refused similar ideas intended to end lingering ethnic tensions in the Balkans, saying they would not give up territory to the Serbs who represent some 10 percent of Kosovo's two million people. Kosovo declared its independence form Serbia in 2008.
Serbia, backed by its ally Russia, has refused to recognize Kosovo's sovereignty. Seventy-five countries, including the United States and most European Union states, so far have recognized Kosovo's independence _ not enough for it to become a U.N. member.
Dacic, a former close ally of Serbia's late autocratic President Slobodan Milosevic, said that if the former Yugoslavia was peacefully partitioned in the 1990s, "there would have been no wars" that had killed tens of thousands and left millions homeless.
"If everyone is against (the partition), I would like to hear what's the solution for Kosovo," Dacic said. "My job is not to recount fairy tales to the people, but to see how Serbia could progress."
Serbian nationalists said Dacic's idea is unconstitutional, and some have even suggested he should be charged with treason.
Government spokesman Milivoje Mihajlovic said Dacic's statements should be interpreted as "private opinion."
"The government of the Republic of Serbia has never had a partition of Kosovo on its agenda, nor has any other forum of the government discussed this issue," Mihajlovic said.
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AP reporter Nebi Qena in Pristina contributed to this report.


Updated : 2020-12-02 12:39 GMT+08:00