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news 11 Jan 13

Kosovo Serbs Denounce Serbian Govt's Resolution

Leaders of Serb-run northern Kosovo have sent a protest letter to Belgrade, complaining that Serbia is inching towards indirect recognition of Kosovo's independence.

Local leaders in Serb-run northern Kosovo sent an open letter to Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Thursday, expressing dissatisfaction with the government's recently adopted resolution on Kosovo and with EU-led talks between Srbia and Kosovo.

"The continuation of negotiations [between Serbia and Kosovo] on a technical level and implementation of reached agreements [on border control and other matters] represents an indirect recognition of Kosovo's independence," the letter said.

The letter also says the Serbian people in Kosovo are seriously concerned about the future survival of Serbian-financed institutions in Kosovo, which "have been and remain the main guarantor of the survival of the Serbs in Kosovo.

"In practice, it was confirmed that wherever there are no institutions of the Republic of Serbia there are no Serbs, either," the letter reads.

The resolution, which the Serbian government unanimously adopted on Wednesday, contains six key points.

One is that Serbia will never recognize Kosovo's independence, but another is that the EU-led Belgrade-Pristina talks should continue. The other points concern the status of the mainly Serbian north of Kosovo and guarantees for Serbs elsewhere in Kosovo.

The resolution was adopted along with a "platform" on Kosovo on which local Serbs have earlier agreed. The platform demands a high level of territorial and political autonomy for Serbian municipalities throughout Kosovo.

But Serb leaders in northern Kosovo insist that the resolution is not in line with the platform.

Northern Kosovo, which borders Serbia, is almost entirely comprised of Serbs and the authorities there do not recognise Kosovo's 2008 independence or the government in Pristina.

The area remains under the day-to-day control of so-called parallel institutions, funded by Belgrade, including town councils, health authorities, post offices and schools.

The Kosovo government has long demanded the dismantling of all Serbian-financed bodies in Kosovo.

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