French FM urges Belgrade, Pristina to normalise relations

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French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has urged Serbia and Kosovo to normalise their relations, saying it was "a political necessity," a Serbian daily reported Friday.

"The normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is a political necessity," Kouchner said in an interview with the Vecernje Novosti newspaper.

It will not be a condition for a EU membership "in legal terms," but it is "inconceivable that the two states would join European Union without solving their disagreements and establishing normal relations like those the member states have," Kouchner said.

He added that a July 22 opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague "definitively put an end to a judicial debate launched by Serbia."

The ICJ ruled that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in 2008 -- challenged by Serbia -- did not violate international law.

"It is now clear to the entire world that the independence of Kosovo is irreversible, regardless what one or another side feels about it," Kouchner said.

Earlier this week Serbia submitted to the UN General Assembly a draft resollution calling for talks between Belgrade and Pristina "about all open issues."

So far 69 countries, including the United States and 22 out of 27 EU member states, have recognised Kosovo as an independent state.

© 2010 AFP

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