Belgrade: Serbia's Parliament backed a government move seeking new talks at the United Nations on Kosovo, a breakaway region which declared independence and is
now recognised by nearly 70 countries.
After a 12-hour debate called to discuss a UN court ruling on Pristina's independence declaration, the Parliament yesterday adopted the motion with 192 votes for, 26 against,
with two abstentions.
Lawmakers held an extraordinary session after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled last week that Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia did not
violate international law.
"The Parliament considers necessary to – through peaceful negotiations -- reach a lasting, sustainable and mutually accepted solution for Kosovo, in accordance with Serbia's constitution," the text of the motion said.
It said that "the parliament... confirms that Serbia will never, explicitly or implicitly, recognise the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo."
Serbia has vowed to pursue its fight at the UN General Assembly to reopen negotiations on the status of Kosovo, despite the ICJ's verdict, saying it will submit a draft
resolution calling for talks.
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic asked lawmakers "to support the position of the government that it is necessary, through negotiations, to arrive at a solution that is
acceptable for all and is based on the Serbian Constitution.
"This is a long and difficult process during which we must not give up and it is important for us to reach unity," Jeremic said.
Serbia insists that Kosovo remains its southern province and President Boris Tadic, who attended yesterday's parliamentary session, said last week that his country would
never recognise Kosovo's independence.
During the debate, Serbia's opposition condemned the government for its failed policy on Kosovo and called for the resignation of top officials, including Tadic and Jeremic.
Addressing the deputies before the vote, Tadic warned that the ICJ decision was a "serious blow for Serbia."
But he insisted that Serbia, which hopes to join EU in coming years, "must have best possible relations with big powers, because any other politics leads Serbia directly into
a disaster, and its citizens straight to poverty."
"It's not the time for great patriotism, it is time for great deeds," Tadic said.
"Serbia must become a European Union member, because it has no other alternative," Tadic vowed.
Earlier, Jeremic said that another 55 states were close to recognising Kosovo.
First Published: Tuesday, July 27, 2010, 13:50