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BALKANS > Serbia easing stance on the recognition of Kosovo

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Serbian PM Dacic called for a comprehensive settlement after Kosovo said its ultimate aim was to secure recognition of statehood by the United Nations. AP photo

Serbian PM Dacic called for a comprehensive settlement after Kosovo said its ultimate aim was to secure recognition of statehood by the United Nations. AP photo

Serbia extended the chance of obtaining a seat at the United Nations to Kosovo on Jan. 15, in what would mark a major concession to its former province as Belgrade tries to clear a path to join the European Union.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic called Jan. 15 for a “comprehensive” settlement after Kosovo’s government said its ultimate aim was to secure recognition of statehood by the United Nations.

‘Something has to be given’

“We can agree on everything,” Dacic told reporters in comments carried by the state news agency. “We are seeking a comprehensive settlement, but for that to happen something has to be given.”

“They (Kosovo) are pressuring us through the European Union, and we’re not letting them into the United Nations. Are we supposed to go on sparring like that for years?” he said. Dacic has a reputation for speaking off the cuff, particularly on Kosovo, and analysts say his comments do not always reflect the official policy of the coalition government. The opposition Democratic Party of Serbia, a small nationalist party, called on Dacic to resign, accusing him of leading an anti-Serbian “policy of capitulation.”

Yet Dacic’s remarks followed the adoption of a resolution by Serbian lawmakers on Jan. 13 that implicitly offered to recognize the authority of the Kosovo government over the north in exchange for broad autonomy for tens of thousands of ethnic Serbs living there. The text reiterated that Serbia would never recognize Kosovo as sovereign. But Serbia could acquiescence to a U.N. seat for Kosovo without formally recognizing Kosovar statehood.

January/17/2013

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