President: Serbia willing to sign EU pre-membership agreement, but only including Kosovo 2008-04-11 23:38:29   Print

    BELGRADE, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Serbian President Boris Tadic said Thursday night that Serbia was willing to sign a pre-membership agreement with the European Union (EU), but not at the price of recognizing Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence.

    "The decision by the government to sign has been made and a signatory has already been selected," Tadic said on the local Studio B television.

    Last December, the Serbian government approved the signing of the SAA,the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, and authorized Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic to sign the document.

    The local B92 news network said that a source close to the president confirmed that Tadic was prepared to sign the agreement, if it was offered to Serbia at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers, scheduled to be held in Luxembourg on April 28.

    Tadic believed that the biggest beneficiaries from signing the SAA are the Serbian country and its people, since the agreement applied 80 percent of its content to economic relations between Serbia and the EU.

    Yet Tadic reiterated that his country would never join the EU at the price of recognizing the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo.

    He advocated that Serbia join the EU as a whole together with Kosovo, adding that the EU in not entitled to define the borders of Serbia.

    "We are the ones that define Serbia's borders, not the EU, our borders are recognized by the United Nations, and the EU has nothing to do with this, " Tadic said.

    He explained that the agreement clearly mentioned UN Resolution1244, which recognizes the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia and puts the breakaway province of Kosovo under UN administration.

    EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told the European Parliament Tuesday that the member states must help the pro-EU forces in Serbia by signing the SAA before the May 11 parliamentary election in Serbia.

    His statement drew unanimous condemnation from the three main political parties in Serbia. Tadic's pro-Western Democratic Party, caretaker Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia and Serbian nationalist Tomislav Nikolic's Serbian Radical Party called on the European Union not to interfere with the country's election.

    EU member states the Netherlands and Belgium object to signing the SAA with Serbia because of its failure to arrest the remaining war crimes suspects from the 1990s.

Editor: Yan Liang
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