WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Wednesday, defending its policy to promote the realization of independence of Kosovo, rejected Serbia's accusation that Washington wanted to create a "NATO state" in Kosovo.
"Calling the Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo a NATO state is quite a stretch," State Department spokesman Gonzo Gallegos said, commenting on the reported remarks by Minister for Kosovo Slobodan Samardzic last week.
"We do not consider this statement to represent the official view of the Serbian government," Gallegos said.
"Baseless and unhelpful rhetoric will not bring us closer to what we feel is the common desired position for peace and stability in the region."
On Aug. 15, Slobodan Samardzic, Serbia's minister for Kosovo, accused NATO and the United States of trying to set up a barrack-style satellite state in its southern breakaway province of Kosovo.
"NATO and the United States should give up the project to create a satellite barrack-state in a foreign land at a moment when we are opening new negotiations on the future status of Kosovo," Samardzic said in a statement.
"The project has nothing to do with either the economic recovery of Kosovo or the reconciliation between Serbs and Albanians, and least of all with for this part to be integrated into Europe in the future," Tanjug, Serbia's official news agency, quoted the minister as saying.
Kosovo has been run by the UN and NATO since 1999 when NATO launched air strikes to stop Serbia from attacking Albanian separatists. Ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of the province's 2 million population, are demanding independence while the Serbians and Serbs in Kosovo want it to remain within Serbia.
In March, the UN special envoy Martin Ahtisaari submitted a draft plan, which envisions internationally supervised independence for Kosovo, to the Security Council concerning the Kosovo issue.
The plan, supported by the United States and many western countries, were robustly opposed by Serbia and its ally Russia which wields a powerful veto in the UN Security Council.
Last week, envoys from the EU, the United States and Russia, the so-called Kosovo-troika, made a 120-day effort to break the impasse over Kosovo. They planned to launch a new negotiation over the issue in Vienna at the end of this August.