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Serbia says Kosovo's independence bid illegal

RIA Novosti

14/02/2008 19:08 BELGRADE, February 14 (RIA Novosti) - The government of Serbia passed a resolution Thursday calling 'illegal' any move by the breakaway province of Kosovo to declare unilateral independence.

The separatist Albanian-dominated province in southern Serbia is expected to unilaterally declare independence on Sunday or Monday a move backed by the United States and most EU countries. Serbia, Russia and some European states oppose the plans, considering any declaration a violation of international law.

"The resolution annuls any act or moves by the provisional authorities in Kosovo and Metohija to unilaterally declare independence as a violation of Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, fixed by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the UN Charter, UN Security Council Resolution 1244 as of 1999, other UN Security Council resolutions as well as by international law," the Serbian government said in a statement.

The government demanded an emergency session of the UN Security Council, which in line with the UN Charter and its resolution would immediately annul "a unilateral declaration of the territory's independence as an illegal act."

"The unilateral secession of a part of a sovereign state's territory represents legal violence over the Republic of Serbia," the statement said.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica called on Kosovo Serbs on Wednesday not to abandon their homes in the event that Kosovo declares independence.

"Our people in Kosovo and Metohija must remain in their homes, in their territory, and in their Serbia," Kostunica said.

Kosovo has been a UN protectorate since the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia ended a conflict between Albanian and Serb forces in 1999. Over 200,000 Serbians have left Kosovo since 1999 and some 100,000 are still living in the province with a total population of two million.

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