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Russia-Serbia partnership does not depend on Belgrade’s dialogue with Brussels – article

Russian-Serbian partnership does not depend on Belgrade’s dialogue with Brussels, Foreign Ministers of Russia and Serbia, Sergey Lavrov and Ivica Dacic, said in a joint article published by Russia’s Rossiisakaya Gazeta and Serbia’s Kurir dailies on Thursday.

“Moscow and Belgrade are strategic partners. We are geared towards closer mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide spectrum of areas. This approach does not depend on Serbia’s plans to negotiate accession to the European Union: it will continue to develop ties with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union,” the ministers noted.

Touching on the Kosovo settlement, the two top diplomats said the two countries would continue close cooperation on that matter on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. “At the same time, we note that some continue to use Serbia’s plans to join the European Union as a tool to exert pressure on Belgrade to make it recognize Kosovo’s ‘independence.’ So, it means that an applicant state is to cede part of its territory,” they noted.

The ministers slammed such requirements as absurd. “Russia and Serbia continue to insist that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 be observed. A compromise is to be reached in the course of negotiations and this is the exclusive prerogative of Belgrade and Pristina,” the stressed.

Lavrov and Dacic emphasized that it is up to the parties to the conflict to word and adopt a final solution that would be approved by the United Nations Security Council. “Moscow will accept only such a variant of settlement that will be acceptable for Belgrade. As for external mediation, it should be an unbiased monitoring of the observance of international laws during the dialogue, without imposing ready-to-use designs,” they added.

No support to Kosovo sovereignty concept anywhere in world

The concept of Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence has failed as it enjoys unanimous support neither in Europe nor anywhere in the world, Foreign Ministers of Russia and Serbia, Sergey Lavrov and Ivica Dacic, said in a joint article.

“The concept of Kosovo’s self-proclaimed sovereignty has failed. It enjoys unanimous support neither in the Balkans nor in Europe nor elsewhere in the world,” the ministers stressed. “About half of the United Nations member states do not recognize Kosovo’s notorious ‘statehood,’ and the number of such countries is growing.”

According to the two top diplomats, more and more countries begin to understand the perniciousness of Kosovo’s precedent of coercive intervention into domestic affairs of an independent state under far-fetched pretexts. “In the recent months, the European Union and the United States have been calling, quite enthusiastically, for the resumption of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. Naturally, we support political methods of settlement but we think that talks are to rest on the principle of honest implementation of what has been agreed,” Lavrov and Dacic emphasized. “The core agreement in this context is the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo, which will have due competences.”

According to the two ministers, the European Union’s responsibility as a mediator in the negotiating process is to push the Kosovo authorities towards implementing its commitments. “So far, no progress has been made towards the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities,” they pointed out. “Let us hope that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak will act as honest brokers.”.

US, EU seeking to take settlement of Kosovo problem in their hands

The United States and the European Union are seeking to take the settlement of the Kosovo problems in their hands, not reckoning with the opinion of other parties concerned, Foreign Ministers of Russia and Serbia said.

“Public discussions about possible solutions to the Kosovo problem have heated up in the recent time,” the article reads. “The United States and the European Union have been demonstrating increased activities, seeking to take the settlement of this issue in their hands and claiming to have the leading role in this process. But, as it was before, they tend not to reckon with the opinion of all parties concerned, thus calling to question the very possibility of a fair solution.”

The ministers noted that in order to avoid new mistakes it is worth looking back and analyzing the sad experience of external interference in to the regional affairs. “We also think it important to share our common views on the current situation and principled approaches to the problems of the Kosovo settlement,” they said. “For more than twenty years, the unsettled Kosovo problem has been hampering comprehensive stabilization in the Western Balkans and triggering new escalations of tensions.”

According to the two top diplomats, the ‘time bomb’ was planted when the Western countries, which had bombed former Yugoslavia back in 1999, made it their crusade to ensure Kosovo’s independence in bypassing of international law. “It was done under a cynical disguise of ‘muiltivariance’: either with Belgrade’s consent or without it,” they noted. “In other words, Serbia’s opinion was not taken into account from the very beginning. Such detrimental approach, which flagrantly violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, is meant solely to satisfy Kosovars’ separatist aspirations.”

Later on, in 2008, when Pristina declared its independence, Moscow and Belgrade were told that the negotiating potential had allegedly been exhausted and their calls for further talks were ignored. “Since then, the international community has seen for itself more than once that only effort to find a solution based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and reckoning with the interests of all parties can give chances to elaborate a viable settlement option,” Lavrov and Dacic emphasized.

Kosovo has turned into nest of criminals and terrorism accomplices

Kosovo has become a nest of criminals, including those linked with terrorist groups, Foreign Ministers of Russia and Serbia said in a joint article.

“Rampant crime in Kosovo, with criminal elements linked with terrorist groups in the Middle East, first of all in Syria, and with criminal communities in the Balkans and other parts of Europe, is an evidence that the province, with its rich historic and cultural heritage, has become a nest for terrorists of all sorts,” the ministers noted.

This situation, characterized by political chaos, proves that Kosovo has failed as an independent state. “Local parties are bogged down in dirty power scramble, scheming and clan wars amid economic decline and orgy of crime. In such conditions, the so-called statecraft local politicians and their foreign sponsors are so fond of speaking about has turned to be a bogus thing,” they pointed out.

No efforts are being taken in Kosovo to fight against international criminals, former chief of the Kosovo Liberation Army, with the Kosovo Special Court, tasked to investigate their crimes, including murders and kidnappings for the purpose of trading in human organs, taking no action. “We still expect this body of justice to begin to work and bring charges against the criminals,” the ministers stressed.

Lavrov and Dacic also drew attention to the fact that the presence of international forces does not promote normalization of the situation in the province. Thus, in their words, the NATO-led international Kosovo Force, which is mandated to ensure Serbs’ security “has been passive for years.”

“On this background, the fact that the Bondsteel facility, which was initially meant as a peacekeeping one, has been turned into a closed zone and a training ground for Kosovo’s ‘armed forces’ arouses serious concern,” they said, adding that United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is demonstrating poor efficiency.

“The question about NATO’s responsibility for the use of depleted uranium munitions in Serbia, especially in Kosovo, during the bombardments in 1999 is still open,” the two foreign ministers noted, adding that not only local residents but also peacekeepers are still suffering from the consequences of radioactive contamination.

The ministers also warned that the Greater Albania rhetoric coming from Pristina and Tirana may “bury the system of regional security that has been built for decades.”

Serbia’s Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija unilaterally proclaimed independence in February 2008, which was recognized by the United Nations Court of Justice in 2010. However more than 60 countries, including Russia, China, India, Israel, Greece, India and Spain, are categorically against recognizing Kosovo’s independence. Nevertheless, Kosovo has been seeking to join international organizations, including UNESCO and Interpol.

Serbia’s diplomats have been urging developing countries to revise their decisions to recognize Kosovo’s independence. Thus, over the past year, eighteen countries, including Ghana, Papua New Guinea, Burundi, Guinea Bissau, Surinam, Liberia, Lesotho, and Madagascar, sided with Belgrade.

Original: TASS