Serbia Slightly Softens Stance on Kosovo under EU Pressure

World | September 9, 2010, Thursday // 14:15
Bulgaria: Serbia Slightly Softens Stance on Kosovo under EU Pressure erbian President Boris Tadic (R), and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (L), pose for media during their meeting in Belgrade, Serbia, 26 August 2010. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Under EU pressure Serbia has agreed to revise a draft resolution that it is submitting to the UN General Assembly with respect to the independence of Kosovo.

The news has been widely hailed across the EU as paving the way for settlement talks between Serbia and its former province Kosovo.

The widely welcomed change to Serbia's draft UN resolution is in fact dropping calls for the condemnation of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence; Serbian officials, including President Boris Tadic, have explicitly made it clear that the shift did not mean readiness to recognize the independence of Kosovo.

The compromise reached late Wednesday night, however, is seen as a success for Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, who had spent two days pressing Tadic to agree on a ''last-chance'' formula acceptable to the rest of Europe.

Ashton and US Vice-President Joe Biden are reported to have made it clear to Serbia that failure to soften its stance on Kosovo would jeopardize its prospects of joining the EU.

Serbia had prepared a resolution for yesterday's UN General Assembly meeting that called Kosovo's unilateral secession ''unacceptable'' and demanded further negotiations on the status of its former province. This resolution had been drafted that way in spite of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice in the Hague in July 2010 stating that the Kosovo's declaration of independence was not contrary to international law.

''The joint resolution of Serbia and the European Union is the result of joint work ... a compromise. The agreed text of the resolution was reached with a sincere desire to solve all open issues in a partnership with the EU, and all other important international factors," Serbian President Tadic said in a statement.

Kosovo broke off from Serbia in February 2008, and has been recognized by 70 nations so far, including the US and 22 of the 27 EU member states. Bulgaria was the 32nd to recognize Kosovo (March 2008).

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Tags: kosovo, Kosovo independence, Serbia, EU, Boris Tadic, Catherine Ashton, UN, UN General Assembly
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