Serbia expects ICJ to rule against Kosovo split

23rd April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Kosovo, a disputed Serbian province with an overwhelming ethnic Albanian majority, has been recognised by 58 countries since it declared independence.

Belgrade -- Serbia is confident the world court will rule against Kosovo's independence, resulting in new talks on its status, Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said in an interview published Wednesday.

"We are of the opinion that Pristina breached international law by declaring independence, and the best place to prove this is before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)," he said.

President Boris Tadic said Serbia was "convinced that international justice is on Serbia's side."

But ethnic Albanian leaders in the Kosovo capital Pristina said they expected the ICJ to uphold their decision to proclaim independence on February 17, 2008.

"I trust in the verdict that the court will announce as we believe in the court and its well-known professional judges," President Fatmir Sejdiu told reporters.

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said Kosovo "should fully trust in justice," adding the "process of recognition of the state of Kosovo will continue in a positive way."

The comments came after the ICJ, the UN's highest court, confirmed it received written submissions for the case from 35 countries, most of which have already recognised Kosovo's independence.

Kosovo, a disputed Serbian province with an overwhelming ethnic Albanian majority, has been recognised by 58 countries since it declared independence.

Serbia, which fiercely opposes the move, has won the right to seek the ICJ's opinion on the matter.

In a statement issued late on Tuesday, the ICJ listed the 35 countries that sent written statements to the court on the case.

Twenty-one of these countries have recognised Kosovo, including Albania, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the United States, while 14 were yet to do so, including Cyprus, Brazil, China, Russia and Spain.

Quoted by Beta news agency, Tadic said it was "not of utmost importance how many countries send their statements to the ICJ, but rather the quality of these statements."

Earlier, Jeremic said Serbia had "managed to convince some of the most influential countries in the world to actively participate in the case on our behalf."

Asked in an interview with the daily Blic what Serbia was hoping to achieve through the ICJ case, Jeremic said: "Finding a future status of the province which is acceptable for all."

Jeremic said he hoped the case would bring about new talks on the status of Kosovo, a southern province wrested from Belgrade's control and placed under UN administration following its 1998-1999 conflict.

"The Pristina government is rejecting any kind of dialogue about the status (but) we want to create the circumstances through which the only rational solution will be dialogue about (Kosovo's) status," said Jeremic.

AFP/Expatica

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