Serbian president rejects Kosovo constitution 2008-06-15 22:38:02   Print

    BELGRADE, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Serbian President Boris Tadic on Sunday dismissed as legally invalid the new Kosovo constitution, which took effect on the same day to grant Kosovo's ethnic Albanian government power after nine years of UN administration.

    "Serbia sees Kosovo as her southern province and defends her integrity by peaceful means, with diplomacy, and not force," Tadic said at the opening of the International Press Institute World Congress in Belgrade.

    The Kosovo parliament adopted the new constitution in April, which took effect nearly four months after the Kosovo Albanians' unilateral declaration of independence.

    Serbia could not accept the proclamation of the Kosovo constitution as a legal fact, said Tadic.

    "We are ready to return to the negotiating table and we will insist on this in all international forums," he said.

    There is a political consensus in the country that a Serb parliament should be set up in Kosovo, Tadic said. He added that Belgrade does not wish to cause any tensions or political conflicts in the province, but rather wants "democratic principles and democratic rules in the southern Serbian province."

    Kosovo Serbs reportedly would counter the Kosovo constitution by forming a parliament of their own in the province on June 28.

    Nebojsa Jovic, one of the Kosovo Serb leaders, said the Kosovo constitution "means nothing" to the Serbs. But another Serb representative, Rada Trajkovic, said that unlike the Serbs living in northern Kosovo, those in the enclaves, surrounded by ethnic Albanians, "will have to respect the constitution at least partially," or "face almost daily incidents that will endanger the Serb community."

    As for the transfer of powers from the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to an EU mission (EULEX), Tadic said he told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a letter that there can be "no re-configuration of the international civil presence in Kosovo without a decision by the UN to that effect."

    "Only the UN Security Council has jurisdiction to make such a decision. The EULEX mission is welcome in Kosovo under two conditions: that it is preceded by a UN Security Council decision and that it does not implement the Ahtisaari plan, which includes Kosovo's supervised independence," Tadic said.

    Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said on Sunday that the Serbian parliament should hold an urgent session and adopt a decision rejecting the EULEX mission before the UN Security Council holds a session on the matter.

    The Serbian parliament should also "annul the illegal decision on the inauguration of the Kosovo constitution," Kostunica said.

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