Serbian president wants Kosovo in Serbia and Serbia in EU

February 15th, 2008 - 10:10 pm ICT by admin  

Belgrade, Feb 15 (DPA) Serbia’s re-elected President Boris Tadic who was sworn in Friday at a ceremonial parliamentary session promised to do everything possible to retain sovereignty over Kosovo while striving to join the European Union (EU). After taking his oath, Tadic said his main goal as president would be “to implement the programme which the citizens voted for, above all, helping Serbia reach its goal of becoming a strong and stable member of the European Union.”

In addition, Tadic promised to do everything within his power to preserve Serbia’s sovereignty over its breakaway province of Kosovo, while making economic progress and staying on the path towards European integration.

“I will never back down in the fight to retain Kosovo, and will with all my power work on making Serbia an EU member,” Tadic said.

Parliamentary speaker Oliver Dulic scheduled the ceremony to swear in Tadic for a second, five-year term after the final results of the Feb 3 election run-off were announced Thursday evening.

The pro-European leader of the Democratic Party narrowly beat ultra-nationalist Tomislav Nikolic of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), in a race seen as a referendum-like vote in which Serbia would decide on either a European future or isolation.

By far the most pressing issue in the campaign was the future status of Kosovo, which is predominantly populated by ethnic Albanians, who demand independence from Serbia.

While both candidates claimed that all measures would be taken to ensure Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo - which Serbs see as the heartland of their religious and national identity - the differences were evident in the potential reactions to its independence.

Nikolic called for the severance of relations with all countries who recognize Kosovo’s independence, which the US and a vast majority of European Union members have already vowed to do.

Tadic, however, campaigned on the notion that Serbia’s path to Europe and future within the EU were both irreversible and the nation’s top priority.

Kosovo is expected to unilaterally declare independence Sunday, with Serbia claiming it would “annul” such a decision through its parliament and fight with all available diplomatic and legal means to keep Kosovo under its sovereignty.

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