2701Serb president in stark Kosovo warning
- Feb 9, 2008http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7236059.stm
Friday, 8 February 2008, 22:52 GMT
Serb head in stark Kosovo warning
BBC Diplomatic correspondent, Munich
Serbian President Boris Tadic has warned of an
escalation in conflicts if Kosovo declares
independence as expected later this month.
Mr Tadic said he could not accept the dismemberment of
his country and called for renewed talks on the issue.
The pro-Western leader was speaking at the opening of
an annual security conference in Munich.
The US and most members of the EU say they will
support independence for Kosovo's ethnic Albanian
"Should Serbia be partitioned against its will... it
could in turn result in the escalation of many
existing conflicts, the reactivation of a number of
frozen conflicts, and the instigation of who knows how
many new conflicts," said Mr Tadic.
While he described Kosovan independence as
unacceptable, Mr Tadic added that he did not want to
see Serbia isolated from the EU.
"There is still time to prevent the situation from
spiralling needlessly out of control," he told the
gathering of the world's top security officials,
urging international talks.
No good time
President Tadic is a leader who stands between a rock
and a hard place.
He is already being buffeted by an internal political
crisis in Serbia, which he has admitted could well
lead to new parliamentary elections in May.
And now the Kosovan independence issue presents him
with a major national dilemma.
Many diplomats in Munich expect the declaration of
independence to be made around 17 February.
Mr Tadic's efforts to steer his country on the path
towards the EU and the West were appreciated by the
Munich audience, made up of prominent US and European
policy makers. The president received warm applause,
but is unlikely to have swayed many minds.
Western diplomats here say that months of talks have
Mindful of Russia's opposition, there is no good time
for Kosovo to declare independence, one insider told
me - it might as well happen sooner rather than later.