Serbia Wants EU to Change Formulation on Kosovo Integrity

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Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said the EU should change its formulation on Kosovo's territorial integrity since the current wording meant Brussels recognised Pristina's independence, a local daily said Saturday.

"The European Union is taking a positive stand towards Kosovo's independence through... formulations in the (bloc's) enlargement strategy" report, Nikolic told the Vecernje Novosti daily.

"The expression 'Kosovo integrity' is not acceptable for Serbia."

According to the daily, Serbia would like to replace the expression with "Kosovo's territory".

"The change of this formulation is a small step that would give additional strength to Serbia... to resolve existing problems and continue a dialogue at the highest level" with Pristina, Nikolic stressed.

In the EU's executive's annual enlargement report, published earlier this week, Belgrade is required to make efforts to normalize relations with its breakaway southern province.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic had also criticized the report that calls for respect for the "territorial integrity of Kosovo".

During a visit to Belgrade on Thursday, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said that the formulation was not linked to Kosovo's status, but meant that the partition of its territory was "not on the table".

Dacic has several times said the best solution for Kosovo would be a partition between the Serb-dominated north and the ethnic Albanian-populated south under control of Pristina.

Both Pristina and the international community have strongly rejected the idea.

Under strong international pressure Belgrade and Pristina have been engaged in a EU-brokered dialogue since March 2011 and reached several accords that would make the Kosovo population's everyday life easier.

Kosovo and its two million majority ethnic-Albanian population were under some form of international administration since a NATO bombing campaign forced then Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic's forces out of the province in 1999.

Kosovo's 2008 unilaterally proclaimed independence, fiercely rejected by Serbia, has been recognised by some 90 states, including the United States and 22 out of the 27 EU member states.

In September this year, Western powers ended their supervision over the territory.

However, Kosovo continues to face opposition from Belgrade, Moscow and Kosovo's ethnic Serbs, who make up about six percent of the population, living mainly in the north on the border with Serbia.

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