EU Kosovo mission 'unacceptable' for Serbia
Serbia has expressed strong opposition to the decision taken last Friday by EU leaders to send an EU mission to Kosovo, saying the mission would ultimately lead to the creation of a "puppet state" out of the Serbian province.
EU leaders at a summit on Friday (14 December) agreed to send a 1,800-strong police and civilian mission to Kosovo – which has been administered by the United Nations since 1999.
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The mission is aimed at making the EU "lead on the whole issue of Kosovo's future", according to Portuguese prime minister Jose Socrates, whose country currently holds the EU presidency.
But Serbian prime minister Vojislav Kostunica spoke out strongly against the move.
"It is unacceptable that the illegitimate arrival of an EU mission to the province is discussed so that [former UN envoy to Kosovo Martti] Ahtisaari's plan for creating a puppet state may be implemented", he said, according to the government's official website.
Mr Socrates, for his part, had stressed that sending the mission did not mean the EU was ready to recognise an independent Kosovo.
However, Serbia sees it as meaning this and is insisting that the recognition of Kosovo's independence would be "the most dangerous precedent made since World War Two".
In their conclusions following Friday's meeting, EU leaders also encouraged Serbia to "meet the necessary conditions to allow its SAA [Stabilisation and Association Agreement] rapidly to be signed" and "reiterated [their] confidence that progress on the road towards the EU, including candidate status, can be accelerated".
But Belgrade rejected what it sees as an attempted trade-off – increasing and speeding up the country's EU accession perspectives in exchange for Serbian concessions on Kosovo.
"It is particularly insulting and unacceptable that the mutilated Serbia is being offered the reward of quicker admission into the EU if it reconciles with violent alteration of its borders", Mr Kostunica said.
Meanwhile, Serbian president Boris Tadic has expressed hopes to get support from Russia, China and "some other [UN] Security Council members" for talks on the Serbian province's future status to continue in order to seek a negotiated solution between Kosovars and Serbians, according to Serbian news site B92.net.
A report by diplomats from the EU, Russia and the US submitted to the UN last week stated that their efforts to find a compromise solution for the future status of Kosovo had failed.
The UN Security Council is to discuss this report on Wednesday (19 December).