Serbia opposes to formation of Kosovo army: President


By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Monday said his country opposes to the establishment of the Kosovo army, according to presidential sources.

According to a statement by the Serbian presidency, Vucic's remarks came during his meeting with Italian Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta in the capital Belgrade.

Vucic "expressed great concern about the steps that Pristina is taking to form the so-called the Kosovo Army," said the statement.

The president warned that "Serbia would, if possible, enter the corridor in the north of Kosovo and Metohija" and "pointed out that no international legal document foresees the formation of the so-called Kosovo Army", the statement said.

"Italy would understand that such irresponsible moves could endanger peace and stability and lead to tragic consequences," Vucic added.

According to the statement, both Vucic and Trenta agreed that the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina should continue.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia rejects it and considers Kosovo its own province while more than 100 countries in the world including Turkey, U.S., Britain, France, and Germany recognize it as an independent country.

Serbia, Russia and China are among the countries which have not yet recognized Kosovo’s independence.

Meanwhile, Trenta said that Italy respects the military neutrality of Serbia, but also appreciates the country's commitment to cooperate with NATO.

While other ex-Yugoslav states Croatia and Slovenia have joined the EU and NATO, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia remain in limbo.

Trenta stressed that Italy believes Serbia is a "key country for peace and stability" in the Western Balkans.

Next year, the two countries will mark two important anniversaries — 140 years of diplomatic relations and 10 years of strategic partnership — which will be an opportunity to confirm friendship and cooperation between Serbia and Italy.

Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said the establishment of the Kosovo army would be a violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, according to a foreign ministry statement Monday.

The resolution authorized an international civil and military presence in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and established the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.

Dacic said that Serbia would address the issue at the UN Security Council session slated for Nov. 8th.

He added that all international factors so far have said the formation of the Kosovo army is an "unacceptable move".

The Kosovar parliament on Thursday voted in support of establishing a 5,000-strong national army.

Serb minority representatives opposed the move, declaring it "illegal".

Kosovo is a former Serbian province that unilaterally declared independence, but Belgrade insists the country remains part of Serbia.

Since then, tensions have remained between Kosovo’s ethnic-Albanian majority and a small Serb minority in the north.