Serbia Sends "Strong Protest" over EU mission While Kosovo Celebrates
Kosovo's independence will be marked appropriately with joy and razor wire.
will be the 6th state carved from the Serb-dominated federation since
1991, after Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Montenegro, and
the last to escape Serbia's embrace.The Serbs vow never to give up the land where their history goes back 1,000 years.
They will reject independence in defiance of the Albanians and their
Western backers and will keep their grip on strongholds in northern
Kosovo, making the ethnic partition of the new state a reality from the
start."The influence of Belgrade has ended," Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim
Thaci said. "The success of Kosovo's independence as a new beginning
will be clearly measured by respect for the rights of minorities,
especially Serbs," the former guerrilla promised.
Triumphant celebrations began hours ahead of the declaration by
parliament due on Sunday afternoon. The snowy streets of the capital
were packed late into the night. Cavalcades of cars circled with horns
blaring and Albanian flags in every hand.
In Belgrade, meanwhile, about 1,000 Serb demonstrators protested against the loss of territory they consider their heartland.In the flashpoint town of Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo,
Nato peacekeeping troops have laid concrete and razor-wire barriers to
separate Serbs from Albanians.Lieutenant-General Xavier de Marnhac, the French
commander of the Nato peacekeepers, said his troops would react swiftly
to any provocation from the Albanian or Serbian side of the divided
town.The BBC's Nick Thorpe in Mitrovica says local and UN
police, as well as the Nato troops, are maintaining a high profile to
reassure all the citizens of Kosovo that they have nothing to fear.
declaration will come at a session of parliament to begin at 3.00 p.m.
(9 a.m. EST). Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica will address
his country at 4.00 p.m. (10 a.m. EST)[/q]
Following Serbia's failed last ditch appeal to the UN Security Council
and the EU's decision to send in peacekeepers, the government grimly
resolves to stand firm in their opposition to Kosovo's independence.
BELGRADE, NEW YORK --
The government today officially reacted to the EU decision to send its mission to Kosovo.
Deputy Prime Minister Božidar Đelić, on behalf
of Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica's cabinet, today sent a strong
protest to Miroslav Luce, the ambassador of the country presiding over
the European Union, Slovenia.
government considers this decision, made outside of the United Nations
Security Council, illegal, and is expressly opposed to the arrival of
an EU mission without a clear legal basis, which can only be offered by
the UN Security Council," a statement from the government said Saturday.
Should Kosovo Albanians unilaterally declare
the secession of the province from Serbia, Russia will seek urgent
consultations within the UN Security Council, a spokeswoman for the
Russian UN ambassador said in New York today.
Maria Zakharova also said that Moscow's next step will be to call an emergency session of the council.
is strongly opposed to Priština's announced moves, and believes they
would break international law, the UN Charter, and UN SC Resolution
The deep wounds on either side of this divide will not be soon healed nor will they be remedied by any declaration of independence.