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9 Sep, 2010 18:02

Serbia softens stance on Kosovo

Serbia is dropping a challenge to Kosovo's independence at the United Nations: Belgrade has removed the section of a UN resolution that called Kosovo's secession "unacceptable".

The move is being seen as a compromise that boosts the Balkan nation's hopes of joining the European Union.

However, political writer Diana Johnstone says the new version of the resolution sounds more like Serbia’s complete surrender to the European Union’s wishes, than like compromise.

“It’s in fact a slap in the face to those in the General Assembly who would have supported Serbia on a matter of principle by taking the issue away from the General Assembly and handing it to the European Union, which is what the European Union wants. They don’t want anyone else to interfere in their protectorate of Kosovo,” she told RT.

Anti-war.com columnist Nebojsa Malic believes that the move will fatally undermine the credibility of the Serbian government in the eyes of fellow Serbs.

“The relevant Serbian public opinion is already outraged. There will be a colossal backlash against the government among the people. There will definitely be significant changes coming down, because the current government has exhausted any sort of credibility, any sort of claim to be defending the country, and completely obliterated its electoral promises of fighting for Kosovo,” Malic told RT.

For Serbia, Johnstone explained, this is not a question of gaining something, but a question of being afraid to lose even more than it has already lost.

“There are secessionist movements that are easy to stimulate from outside – in Vojvodina, in Raska – which can be stimulated by an agent, and Serbia is just swarming with agents… I think they were more afraid of losing something… In fact they didn’t gain anything. The European Union gave nothing in exchange for this, as usual, and now they’re asking for more,” she said.

Still, the issue is far from the end, Johnstone said; Serbia is in a difficult position. It is not exactly occupied, but it is surrounded and sort of occupied, and any leader that would openly take into consideration Serbia’s interests is condemned as nationalist by the Western media.

“So it’s essentially very difficult for the Serbian voters to have any other policy other than the policy that is essential dictated by the United States and the European Union,” she concluded.

The Kosovo parliament declared the region’s independence in 2008. Serbia still has not recognized it, nor has Russia, China, Cyprus and Greece.

However, 69 countries did recognize Kosovo as a para-state, and the West has been mildly pressuring Serbia to surrender their efforts to regain control over the territory.