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Serbia flatly rejects U.N.'s Kosovo plan

February 15, 2007|From the Associated Press

BELGRADE, SERBIA — Serbia's parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected a United Nations plan that would give virtual independence to the breakaway province of Kosovo.

The rejection sends a strong signal that Serbia will be unlikely to compromise on its southern province, meaning a resolution to the dispute over Kosovo's final status probably will have to be imposed by the U.N. Security Council.

The proposal, drawn up by U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari, does not explicitly call for Kosovo's independence but envisions granting the province its own flag, anthem, army, constitution and the right to apply for membership in international organizations.

Serbian President Boris Tadic told the parliament that the plan "essentially opens the way for an independent Kosovo, which is a violation of the essential principles of the U.N. charter that guarantees inviolability of internationally recognized states."

The plan was rejected by a vote of 255 to 15. Tomislav Nikolic, a leader of the ultranationalist Radical Party that controls parliament, said that "no one can create a new country on Serbia's territory without Serbia's consent."

But Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku said Serbia's views would have no effect on the province's future status.

"What matters is what the European Union and the international community are saying, and not what Belgrade is saying," he said.

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