Serbia will not sign Kosovo plan

Serbia will not sign Kosovo plan

Serbia will not sign Kosovo plan

Deputy PM Vucic says Belgrade will reject an EU-brokered Kosovo plan. AFP photo

Serbia will reject a European Union-brokered plan for Kosovo as it fails to give broad autonomy to minority Serbs in its former province, an official said today, in a decision that may delay EU accession talks.

Serbia has been under intense Western pressure to reach a deal with Kosovo, which seceded in 2008, before the EU rules on whether to open membership talks with the Balkan country. The bloc is expected to take a preliminary decision this month.

Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, leader of the largest party in Serbia’s ruling coalition, said the proposal that has emerged from months of negotiations mediated by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, “fails to recognize our basic interests and should not be signed.”

“We will ask that the dialogue continue, we need a solution as soon as possible,” Vucic told reporters after a meeting of leaders of his Serbian Progressive Party.

On April 16, Ashton is to issue a report likely to decide whether the EU opens accession talks with Serbia this year.

 Serbia’s president also hinted April 7 that the Balkan country’s leadership will reject a European Union-mediated plan for reconciliation with Kosovo that would pave the way for Serbia’s eventual membership in the bloc.

“We hit a wall,” Nikolic told reporters. “The negotiations turned into talks on [Kosovo’s] independence, and no one in Serbia has the right to do that.”

Compiled from AP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.