Global Policy Forum

Serbia’s Parliament Rejects United Nations Plan for Kosovo

Associated Press
February 14, 2007

Serbia's parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected a UN plan that would give virtual independence to the breakaway province of Kosovo. The rejection sends a strong signal that Serbia will be unlikely to compromise over its southern province, meaning a resolution to the dispute over Kosovo's final status will probably have to be imposed by the UN Security Council.

The proposal, drawn up by UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari, does not explicitly call for Kosovo's independence, but envisions granting the province its own flag, anthem, army, constitution and the right to apply for membership in international organizations. Serbian President Boris Tadic told the parliament that the plan "essentially opens the way for an independent Kosovo, which is a violation of the essential principles of the UN charter that guarantees inviolability of internationally recognized states." The plan was rejected by a vote of 255-15. Tomislav Nikolic, a leader of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical party that controls parliament, said "no one can create a new country on Serbia's territory without Serbia's consent."

But Kosovo's Prime Minister Agim Ceku said Serbia's views would have no impact on the province's future status. "What matters is what the European Union and the international community are saying, and not what Belgrade is saying," he said. Kosovo has been a UN protectorate since 1999 when NATO bombing halted former President Slobodan Milosevic's crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in the province. Nearly 10,000 ethnic Albanians were killed in the onslaught, and almost one million were forced to flee their homes. Belgrade has offered broad autonomy for Kosovo, which it considers the medieval cradle of its statehood. But Kosovo Albanians, which account for 90 per cent of the population, demand complete secession.

The parliamentary rejection dooms hopes of a compromise between Serbian and ethnic Albanian officials at the final round of negotiations on the plan scheduled to start in Vienna, Austria, next week. Ahtisaari plans to put the proposal before the Security Council by the end of next month. There are concerns the plan may trigger a showdown between the United States — long an advocate of an independent Kosovo — and Russia, a traditional ally of Serbia.

The plan would protect Serbian Orthodox Church sites and the Serbian language in the province. It would also grant the 200,000 Serbs who fled Kosovo after the war "the right to return and reclaim their property and personal possessions." On Saturday, about 3,000 ethnic Albanians broke through a security cordon and tried to march toward a government building in Pristina to protest the plan. Riot police fired rubber bullets and clashed with protesters. Two people were killed.

More Information on the Security Council
More Information on Kosovo


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.