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18 Feb 13 Serbia Dismisses Kosovo Independence Anniversary

As Kosovo marked the fifth anniversary of its declaration of independence, Belgrade reiterated that it would never recognise Pristina’s statehood claims.

Beta, BIRN Belgrade

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said on Sunday that Kosovo’s independence was “an illusion”.

Kosovo could exist “for another 100 years without being recognised by the UN”, Dacic told Serbian media.

The Serbian government office for Kosovo meanwhile said that Pristina’s self-proclaimed statehood was illegal.

“Something that was created through injustice cannot be legal and just,” it said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement alleged discrimination and violence against Kosovo’s Serb minority, and called on the international community to accept that there could be no reconciliation and progress without equal treatment and the condemnation of all crimes.

It alleged that there have been over 1,000 attacks on Serbs in Kosovo over the past five years.

“A state has not been established in so-called independent Kosovo but an apartheid [system] in which [only] two perpetrators have been convicted for [attacks on] 1,004 Serb victims,” it said.

Over the weekend, Kosovo held a series of celebrations to mark the anniversary of its declaration of independence in 2008, which has been endorsed by 97 UN member countries so far, despite Serbia’s bitter opposition.

Thousands of people gathered at Mother Theresa Square in Pristina on Sunday to watch security forces hold a showpiece parade.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci told a special session of parliament: “Kosovo has started a process of dialogue [with Belgrade], expecting to also be recognised by Serbia one day.”

EU-mediated Belgrade-Pristina talks, which started in March 2011, are due to continue this week after Serbia and Kosovo’s presidents, Tomislav Nikolic and Atifete Jahjaga, met for the first time in Brussels earlier this month.

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