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Serbia calls on UN to wait for Kosovo court hearings results

RIA Novosti

02:42 16/10/2009 NEW YORK, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - Serbian foreign minister called on the United Nations member states to abstain from recognizing Kosovo until UN court hearings on the legitimacy of Kosovo's declaration of independence are completed.

Serbia brought the case to the UN's Hague-based International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence.

The hearings will begin on December 1 and will involve the five permanent Security Council members - Russia and China on Serbia's side and the United States, Britain and France supporting Kosovo. Other countries have filed written statements on the case.

"Our common duty is to provide unbiased hearings of this issue in the court. It is necessary that the International Court procedures are observed unreservedly and must not be undermined by political pressure such as further cases of Kosovo's independence recognition," Vuk Jeremic told a session of the UN Security Council on Thursday.

A total of 62 countries, including major Western powers, have recognized the independence of Serbia's ethnic-Albanian-dominated province, which was declared in February 2008. The rest of the world, including Russia, China and India, considers Kosovo to be part of Serbia.

Kosovo, Serbia's historic heartland, was administered by the United Nations after the Kosovo war and the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

Last week Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Jeremic at a meeting in Moscow that Russia would support Serbia's case in UN court hearings on the legitimacy of Kosovo's declaration of independence.

In August 2008, Russia recognized Georgia's breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia following a brief war with the ex-Soviet Caucasus state triggered by its offensive against Ossetia. The move was seen by many as influenced by Western nations' recognition of Kosovo.

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