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Serbia: Compromise on Kosovo yes, independence or partition no

Serbia is ready to compromise over Kosovo, but not to allow either partition or independence of the province, Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said Tuesday in Bucharest.

Following a meeting with his Romanian counterpart, Adrian Cioroianu, Jeremic said that the solution for Kosovo must be acceptable both sides. The sides are Belgrade, which insists on retaining sovereignty over Kosovo, and the Albanians, who make up a vast majority in Kosovo and expect to win independence from Serbia before the year expires. According to Jeremic, Belgrade recognizes the “strong and legitimate wish of the Albanians to self-govern,” but warned that it must materialize with respect of Serbia’s sovereignty.

The Albanians have baulked at Serbia’s offer and are banking on western support to finally push Kosovo through as an independent nation, eight years after NATO intervened against Belgrade to stop bloodshed in the province. Last-ditch talks aimed at reaching a compromise - despite infinitely long odds - between Belgrade and Pristina were launched last month under the mediation of United States, Russia and the European Union. The talks should presumably be followed by the resolution of the issue after a three-month deadline expires in December. (