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Serbia to take retaliatory steps against the West if Kosovo becomes independent

Serbia to take retaliatory steps against the West if Kosovo becomes independent

Serbian legislators planned Wednesday to debate a resolution that could lead to severing diplomatic ties with the United States and EU countries if they recognize an independent Kosovo.
The resolution, proposed by Serbia's government, also rejects the idea of the EU setting up a mission in Kosovo until the breakaway province's status is resolved. It threatens to halt Serbia's EU integration if Kosovo gains statehood, and it denounces NATO and the West for their alleged support of the separatist Kosovo Albanians.
If adopted by a majority vote, the resolution would oblige Serbian officials to reject Kosovo's independence, and would likely lead to a further deterioration of Serbia's relations with the West.
Ethnic Albanians, who account for about 90 percent of Kosovo's 2 million population, have said they would proclaim independence early next year, and the U.S. and several EU states have indicated they would recognize it.
Serbia, backed by Russia, insists Kosovo should remain part of its territory.
The European Union agreed this month to send an 1,800-member mission to Kosovo to replace the current system in the province, which has been run by the U.N. and NATO since the 1999 war between Serbs and separatist ethnic Albanians.
But the Serbian government resolution, which is almost certain to be adopted by the nationalist-dominated parliament, said the EU mission would not be welcome before Kosovo's final status is determined at the U.N. Security Council, where Russia could veto any decision not favorable to Belgrade.
The proposed EU mission "would be an act which jeopardizes the sovereignty, territorial integrity and the constitution of the Republic of Serbia," according to a copy of the draft resolution made available Tuesday to The Associated Press. Russia has opposed the new EU mission without Belgrade's consent.
The document says Serbia must "reconsider" diplomatic ties with Western countries that recognize Kosovo's statehood. It says that, because of NATO's alleged support for Kosovo's independence, Serbia must remain outside the Western military alliance.
The resolution, apparently drafted by Serbia's conservative Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, also said the possible signing of a pre-membership trade and aid deal with the EU in January "must be in the function of preserving the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
Ultranationalist leader Tomislav Nikolic said his Radicals, the biggest group in the parliament, would support the resolution only of Kostunica and Serbia's pro-Western President Boris Tadic "guarantee" in the assembly that this means that they would not sign the so-called Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU if it does not explicitly specify that Kosovo is Serbia's territory.


Updated : 2021-05-16 05:57 GMT+08:00