Tadic: Serbia Will Not Concede on Kosovo for EU

Posted August 26th, 2011 at 12:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Serbian President Boris Tadic says Belgrade will not make concessions in its policy toward Kosovo even though prospects for European Union membership could be hurt.

Mr. Tadic said Friday Serbia will not give up its bid to join the EU, but it cannot dismantle Serb-controlled institutions in northern Kosovo. He insists that Serbia has met all conditions of its candidacy to become an EU member. But he said if Belgrade must make a choice, Serbia will not abandon either of what he said are its legitimate interests — to preserve its national interests in Kosovo and its EU bid.

Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Serbia's admission to the EU depends on progress in negotiations with Kosovo, whose restive northern region is dominated by ethnic Serbs. Ms. Merkel said Germany believes that Serbia's place is in Europe, but that to get there it must restart dialogue with Kosovo.

Serbia has said it will never recognize Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008. Serbs living in the northern part of Kosovo reject the authority of Kosovo's government and rely instead on financial support from Belgrade.

Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo flared last month when Kosovo's majority ethnic-Albanian government sent special police to take control of northern border crossings. The move resulted in unrest and blocked EU-mediated negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina.

Germany, and 81 other nations, recognize Kosovo's sovereignty.