Saturday, March 08, 2008

Meanwhile in the rest of the world, Serbian government melts . . .

Serb PM dissolves government

-- Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica dissolved the government Saturday and called for new elections after clashing with his pro-Western coalition partners over Kosovo and EU membership.

Vojislav Kostunica accused pro-Western ministers of failing to back his efforts to keep Kosovo in Serbia.

Kostunica said that he will convene a government session Monday that will propose to parliament that new elections be held May 11.

"The government will function in a reduced capacity until the elections are held," Kostunica said.

Kostunica accused pro-Western ministers of failing to support his efforts to preserve Kosovo as part of Serbia.

Kostunica insists that EU governments that recognized Kosovo, which declared independence last month, must rescind their decisions before Serbia resumes pre-membership talks with the 27-nation bloc.

Pro-Western President Boris Tadic opposes tying Serbia's EU membership to the issue of Kosovo, which has been recognized as an independent state by several leading EU nations, including Britain, France and Germany.

"There was no united will (in the government) to clearly and loudly state that Serbia can continue its path toward the EU only with Kosovo," Kostunica said.

Kosovo, whose population is predominantly ethnic Albanian, had been under U.N. control since 1999, when NATO launched an air war to stop Milosevic's crackdown on separatists.

Serbia, which considers the territory its historic and religious heartland, has rejected Kosovo's statehood as illegal. Russia, China and other nations support Belgrade's position.

Original article posted here.

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