‘Kosovo problem will be solved after Serbia joins EU,’ diplomat says

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A definitive solution to the Kosovo problem can be found once Serbia becomes a member of the EU, Ivo Viskovi?, Serbian ambassador in Berlin, told EURACTIV Germany in an interview.

Serbia is prepared to reach a compromise over the recognition and sovereignty of Kosovo but will not agree to a proposal based on the current state of affairs, the diplomat said.

Stressing that a solution for Kosovo is not an official condition of Serbian accession, Viskovi? added: "The Kosovo situation could be solved fully after we have entered the EU."

The decision of the International Court of Justice, which has been examining the legality of Kosovo's declaration of independence at Serbia's request, is expected in June, he said (EURACTIV 01/12/09).

The ambassador explained that Belgrade will be ready to renegotiate after its release, adding "the so-called solution of today is not acceptable for us. It was an attempt to impose a solution prepared by others and does not have the agreement of Serbia".

While Serbia is prepared to make certain sacrifices and concessions, it will not accept the acquisition by Kosovo of formal international or military sovereignty, he stated.

The diplomat said the current political leadership in Serbia does not believe Belgrade will rule over Kosovo again but hinted at the need for a face-saving solution.

Serbia wants 'fair treatment' by EU

Viskovi? also stated that Serbia is gradually readying itself for integration into the EU, but its path to accession must not be slowed by scepticism among member states or external issues – such as the recognition of Kosovo.

Although the EU refrains from mentioning accession dates for the Western Balkan countries, the Serbian diplomat mentioned 2014 as a possible target date.

"No-one in Serbia will be angry if the EU postpones Serbian accession in 2014 because we have not achieved the necessary European standards. But people fear that the EU might say that Serbia is almost ready but we don't have an EU perspective for you because of the attitude of a certain country, or this or that external circumstance," he said.

"The accession of Serbia to the EU has to lie on the achievements of Serbia alone, not developments in third countries or problems within the EU," he added.

Viskovi? pointed to Serbia's progress in fulfilling benchmarks and conditions set by the EU, such as meeting the conditions for visa liberalisation (EURACTIV 01/12/09).

"We deserve membership for our location, our system of values, our culture, our political system and our economic system. We are not a backward country. We strongly believe that we can reach all European standards, even if we have characteristics that might be strange for some within the EU," he said.

To read the interview in full, please click here.

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