Posted on December 27, 2007

Serbia Blocks Kosovo’s Independence

Dusan Stojanovic, AP, Dec. 26, 2007

Serbia’s parliament overwhelmingly adopted a resolution Wednesday that threatens to halt the country’s integration into the European Union and cut off diplomatic ties with Western countries if they recognize Kosovo’s independence.

The resolution—passed with 220 votes in favor, 14 against and three abstentions—also obliges Serbian officials to reject Kosovo’s statehood and denounces NATO for allegedly supporting the separatist Kosovo Albanians.

Ethnic Albanians, who account for about 90 percent of Kosovo’s 2 million people, have said they would proclaim independence early next year.

The U.S. and several E.U. states have said they would recognize Kosovo’s independence because it has not been under Serbia’s control since 1999, when NATO intervened to stop former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic’s military crackdown against the separatists.

Serbia, backed by Russia, insists Kosovo—considered the cradle of Serbia’s medieval state and religion—should remain part of its territory, and has urged more negotiations with Kosovo Albanians.

During a fiery debate in Parliament, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica accused the U.S. of blocking efforts to find a compromise with ethnic Albanians by its open support of Kosovo’s independence.

“America is openly striving for the destruction of the international order,” Kostunica told the parliament. “America, which once seemed like a symbol of freedom, now advocates the policies of force.”