(AFP) – Sep 30, 2008
BELGRADE (AFP) — Serbian President Boris Tadic has indicated he is open to the possibility of dividing Kosovo, whose claim of independence from Serbia is not recognized by Belgrade, local media said on Tuesday.
"I am prepared to consider that option too, if we exhaust all the previous ones, but there are quite a few of them," Tadic was quoted as saying on B92 television's website.
But Tadic stressed that partitioning Kosovo was not currently "on the agenda," according to B92, which cited an interview the president gave to state television channel RTS.
He noted that Serbia favours a solution that would include substantial autonomy for Kosovo, which has an ethnic Albanian-majority.
"There are still a lot of possibilities to find a solution within the concept of substantial autonomy. But, if we exhaust every possibility, then we can move to that option," he said.
"All initiatives are legitimate," he said, adding that "anything is preferable to a situation where one side lost everything and the other won it all."
Kosovo's claim of independence "certainly has not contributed to the stability and future of the region," Tadic said.
Kosovo, a UN-run province of Serbia since 1999 when it was wrested from Belgrade's control in a NATO air war, unilaterally seceded from Belgrade on February 17.
Its statehood has been recognized by 47 countries, including the United States and most European Union nations.
But Serbia still considers Kosovo one of its provinces. Russia, a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, has strongly backed Belgrade in the dispute.
Former Serbian foreign minister Goran Svilanovic told AFP this was the first time Tadic had raised the possibility of dividing Kosovo.
"Finally this is a realistic approach coming from Serbia. Finally, after several years, there is a room to discuss," Svilanovic added.
"This is the way out for Europeans. They are stuck with (the) decision to recognize Kosovo. I think most of them will be very happy to receive the official position of Serbia."
For Svilanovic, Tadic's proposal might lead to a compromise that both the supporters and opponents of Kosovo's independence could live with.
"If two sides raise an agreement on a correction of borders, no-one can complain... because this is fully in accordance with the Helsinki final act," he said.
"There is no need for European countries to change their position. They recognized Kosovo and this will stay. The borders can change"
A United Nations spokesman said Monday the UN General Assembly would meet on October 8 to discuss a Serbian draft resolution calling for a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality of Kosovo's independence.
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