02 October 2006

Slovakia Against Succession of Serbia

Solution for Kosovo that will not threaten regional stability must be reached
Belgrade/Bratislava, Oct 2, 2006 - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico agreed today in Bratislava that a solution to the future status for Kosovo-Metohija should be one that will allow for latter changes, and not one that would negatively affect regional stability.

Kostunica, who is on an official visit to Slovakia, said after meeting with his Slovakian counterpart that Kosovo-Metohija’s independence would be a solution that could not be corrected adding that a final solution like that would affect stability in the region. Fico said that the Slovak government rejects a “black and white” way of seeing issues when Kosovo-Metohija is in question, adding that his government’s position is that for Kosovo-Metohija it is best to come up with a solution that is possible to change later if necessary. He explained that a solution that would not allow further corrections would do much more harm than good. Fico added that stability in the region and the respect for human rights of all communities in Kosovo should be priorities when resolving its final status and stressed that the Slovakian government will support such a solution. The Slovakian diplomatic service, which wants to be active in the resolution of Kosovo issue, is awaiting the report of Martti Ahtisaari impatiently after which it will take a final position, Fico pointed out and added that the western Balkans are the priority in Bratislava's foreign policy. The Serbian Prime Minister reiterated that the issue of Kosovo-Metohija cannot be resolved by violating international law which is based on the respect for the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty, but by respecting it and should be treated in the same way Europe resolves similar cases. The resolution of future status of Kosovo-Metohija in the form of substantial autonomy means that Kosovo and its institutions would get complete independence in the legislative, judiciary and executive branches, Kostunica explained and added that this entails the possibility of cooperation with international financial institutions, but without international legal subjectivity and membership in the United Nations, as well as without proper armed forces. Speaking about the new constitution of Serbia, Kostunica said that Serbia got a good, democratic constitution with which the democratic changes from 2000 have been given a democratic legal framework and pointed out that the new constitution enables the full democratic development of Serbia. Kostunica stated that Serbia, as well as Slovakia, has a stable coalition government. We have had good cooperation for years and we have made the first important step - towards the adoption of the new constitution. After the referendum on that issue, elections will ensue in order to form new institutions in line with the new highest legal act, the Serbian Prime Minister said. The Serbian Prime Minister added that Belgrade's cooperation with the Hague tribunal is in Serbia's interest and that the government is doing everything to bring it to an end. Fico thanked Kostunica for the care which Serbia shows to 60,000 Slovaks living in Serbia, stressing that it should serve as an example for the rest of Europe.The Serbian and Slovakian prime ministers expressed dissatisfaction with economic cooperation between the two countries which, according to them, is not intensive despite very good friendly and political relations between Serbia and Slovakia. The Serbian Prime Minister talked today in Bratislava with Slovakian president Ivan Gasparovic who said that the official Bratislava position is against the secession of Kosovo-Metohija. "I am very satisfied with the talks I had with the Slovakian president, and with his clear stance that he is against the secession of Kosovo-Metohija and that Slovakia will defend a just solution in the Security Council," Kostunica said after the meeting with Gasparovic. During the day, Kostunica will meet with Speaker of Slovakian parliament Pavol Pasko and Foreign Minister Jan Kubis. The Serbian government delegation led by Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica includes ministers of economy and capital investment Predrag Bubalo and Velimir Ilic and president of the national council of the Slovakian national minority Ana Tomanova-Makanova. Ministers Bubalo and Ilic will hold separate meetings with their Slovakian counterparts - Minister of Economy Lubomir Jahnatek and Minister of Transport, Posts and Telecommunications Lubomir Vazny.