France warns Serbia on Kosovo
France warned Serbia on Friday that if it wants Paris' support for its bid to join the European Union it will have to adopt a more "constructive" attitude over the sovereignty of Kosovo.Paris - France warned Serbia on Friday that if it wants Paris' support for its bid to join the European Union it will have to adopt a more "constructive" attitude over the sovereignty of Kosovo.
France's minister for European affairs, Pierre Lellouche, issued a strongly worded statement after meeting Serbia's deputy prime minister for European integration, Bozidar Djelic, in Paris.
"France's engagement in favour of Serbia depends on Serbia's approaching the European Union in a spirit of reconciliation and cooperation that conforms to the values that underly European integration," Lellouche said.
The minister "called on Belgrade to adopt a constructive attitude on Kosovo ... and to show more realism in terms of an eventual reconciliation, as other European countries have done," the French statement added.
The Kosovo region has enjoyed de facto independence from Belgrade since 1999, when NATO forces drove out Yugoslav troops and seized control of the area in a bid to halt the persecution of its ethnic Albanian majority.
Kosovo became first a UN protectorate garrisoned by NATO troops and then, in February last year, its government, led by ethnic Albanian former separatist rebels, declared independence.
The move has so far been recognised by 60 countries, including the United States and all but five of the 27 members of the European Union.
Serbia, backed by several allies including Russia, has refused to recognise Kosovo as independent and insists on its own sovereignty over the region, which has a Serb minority population and several sites of symbolic importance.
The issue is one of two main stumbling blocks as Belgrade attempts to join the list of candidates for integration into the European Union.
Lellouche also repeated Europe's longstanding demand that Serbia find, arrest and extradite former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic, who is wanted for war crimes by international prosecutors.
AFP / Expatica