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news 10 Jan 13

Serbia Govt Adopts Kosovo 'Platform' and Resolution

The Serbian government has adopted a long-awaited 'platform' and a resolution on Kosovo, which have not been made public but are unlikely to contain many surprises.

Bojana Barlovac, Edona Peci BIRN Belgrade, Pristina

After two hours of discussion on Wednesday, the Serbian government unanimously adopted two binding documents on Kosovo, a resolution and a "platform".

The government is yet to make the two documents public. But Balkan Insight has learned that the resolution contains six key points.

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

The platform, meanwhile, demands a high level of territorial and political autonomy for Serbian municipalities throughout Kosovo.

Northern Kosovo, which borders Serbia, is almost entirely comprised of Serbs and the authorities there do not recognise Kosovo's 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.

Locals in the north have already offered support for the Serbian government's official platform on Kosovo.

The government session was attended by President Tomislav Nikolic, who said Serbia had showed that "it can stand unanimously behind a document, with all the reservations and apprehensions one has when talking about Kosovo.

"What we are doing today is a minimum of what we could have gotten several years ago and the maximum of what we will be able to get in a few years," Nikolic said on Wednesday, referring to a feeling that the passage of time had not assisted Serbia in its battle over what it still calls its "southern province".

The Serbian parliament is scheduled to vote on the resolution on Saturday.

“I hope that MPs will understand the importance of the moment and their responsibility because this is not some bill we should fight over,” the President noted.

Kosovo officials have dismissed the latest flurry of activity over Kosovo in Serbia. The Deputy Prime Minister, Hajredin Kuci, said the "platform" was purely for Serbia's own internal consumption and would not get much support from the international community.

"The platform is just a piece of paper for internal use," Kuci said on Wednesday.

Kosovo proclaimed independence from Serbia in 2008 and has since been recognised by 98 of the 193 UN member states, though not by five EU states, Russia or China.

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