Romania opposes unilateral Kosovo independence


Romanian Defense Minister Teodor Melescanu said that his country's parliament would not recognize the unilateral declaration of the independence of Kosovo.

ÔÇťA unilateral decision could have a very negative effect on the entire region and is not in keeping with international law,ÔÇŁ Melescanu told a joint press conference with his Serbian counterpart Dragan Sutanovac. He said that Romania's clear stand is that the future status of Kosovo should be reached through negotiations that are acceptable to both sides and to the United Nations. Melescanu and Sutanovac agreed that Kosovo is the region's hot spot and that the issue of its future status should be resolved through talks and a solution that would satisfy both sides.

Legally still part of Serbia, the Kosovo province of 2 million people has been run by the United Nations since 1999, when NATO bombing forced the evacuation of Serbian forces fighting insurgent ethnic Albanians. The four-month negotiations mediated by the troika of U.S, EU and Russian envoys officially ended on Monday, but failed to achieve any result acceptable to Pristina and Belgrade.

Kosovo's dominant ethnic Albanians are expected to declare independence before May next year with Western backing. The United States and most EU member states support statehood for Kosovo. Serbia, backed by Russia, warns the unilateral independence would unleash chaos in the fragile Balkans.

Commenting different views among the EU members on the future status of Kosovo, Melescanu said that Romania would try to have its stand prevail. The Daily Telegraph of London revealed on Tuesday that five EU countries shared Russia's reservations towards supporting the independence of Kosovo, fearing that would give rise to secessionist hopes of their minorities. Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain came under intense pressure to put aside their opposition in favor of a common EU position on Kosovo, the newspaper said, adding that Cyprus was the only one that has persisted in its stand.

The U.N. Security Council will debate on December 19 the report of the troika on the process of negotiations on the future status of Kosovo over the past 120 days. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica is expected to address the session. The Kosovo negotiating team has decided to wait for the December 19 session, after which it will decide on steps to be taken with regard to Kosovo's future status. However, Serbian Defense Minister Sutanovac said that he did not expect any dramatic developments after the U.N. Security Council session. (Xinhua)


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