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news 25 Sep 12

Serbia Deputy PM Rules Out Kosovo Partition

Deputy Prime Minister Suzana Grubjesic said the partition of Kosovo was no longer worth considering as an option, as the international community clearly opposed the idea.

Bojana Barlovac Belgrade

Suzana Grubjesic, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of EU integration, said that the partition of Kosovo might well be the most rational solution to the issue of the territory, but it was not possible today as the US and other Western countries opposed the idea.

"It could have been done five or six years ago when the atmosphere in the international circles favoured something like that," Grubjesic told Serbian broadcaster B92 on Monday.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, but Belgrade does not recognize the loss of what it still considers a province.

Grubjesic said that the new government will not recognize Kosovo's independence, but will try to normalise day-to-day relations.

"We have to start normalising relations, not only because of us [Serbs] here... but also because of our people who live down there," Grubjesic said, referring to the Serb minority living in Kosovo.

In March 2011, the EU launched a dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina with the aim of normalising tense relations.

So far, the two sides have reached deals on freedom of movement, mutual recognition of university diplomas and on the representation of Kosovo at regional meetings attended by Serbia. However, the agreements have not been implemented so far.

Talks were put on hold following the May 6 general elections in Serbia, which resulted in the Democratic Party, led by Boris Tadic, losing power.

Grubjesic has announced the reopening of dialogue with Pristina at the highest level soon.

In a statement for Radio Belgrade on Sunday, Grubjesic said that Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic will conduct the talks.

“This should lead to... a historic agreement between Serbs and Albanians,” she said.

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