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Serbia Calls for UN to Keep Administering Kosovo

By Margaret Besheer
United Nations
11 March 2008

Serbia's foreign minister says the responsibilities of the U.N. mission in Kosovo must not be transferred to any other organization, such as the European Union. He also told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that Belgrade would not accept Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence and urged countries that have recognized the breakaway province to reconsider their decision. From United Nations headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more.

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told the Security Council that resolution 1,244, which placed Kosovo under U.N. administration in 1999, must be respected. He also insisted that there be no change to the mandate of the U.N. mission in Kosovo, known as UNMIK.

"Resolution 1,244 must be observed in full. This is the only way to prevent a further deterioration of the situation on the ground. There must be no erosion of UNMIK's clearly defined mandate by the Security Council. Therefore, we strongly demand that no further transfer of competencies from UNMIK to any other body take place," he said.

Serbia is concerned about the European Union's decision last month to authorize the deployment of a 2,000 strong force to Kosovo to train local police, justice and border officials, saying its activities would be outside the parameters of resolution 1,244. So far, only about 20 members of the force have been sent to Kosovo.

Jeremic also called on the countries that have recognized Kosovo's independence to reconsider their decision. But the ambassadors of both the United States and Britain said their governments would not change their positions.

Serbia's ally Russia, says it would not accept Kosovo's independence as a new reality. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin says the situation on the ground could not be recognized as a legal reality until and unless there is agreement between the Serbs and Kosovars, and until there is a new decision from the Security Council on something that would replace resolution 1,244.

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