Xinhua, July 21, 2008
Serbia mulls diplomats' return to EU nations
BELGRADE, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Serbia will decide this week whether to return its diplomats to European Union countries which recognized the independence of its breakaway province of Kosovo, Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said on Sunday.
"Following talks in Paris, Moscow and New York and consultations with President Boris Tadic, the Foreign Ministry has decided to ask the government at its next session to ... allow the return of ambassadors to EU states and the normalization of ties," Jeremic was quoted by the Beta news agency.
Serbia withdrew its ambassadors from some 40 countries, including the United States, the majority of EU and NATO members and some Asian and Middle Eastern states, which recognized Kosovo's independence earlier this year.
However, Jeremic stressed the move would not mean giving up the fight to keep Kosovo part of Serbia. In so doing, Serbia hopes to improve ties with the EU countries and win candidate status by the end of 2008, said the minister.
Moreover, Jeremic said better ties with the EU nations could have a positive influence on the bloc's policy on Kosovo.
In February, Kosovo unilaterally declared independence after nearly nine years as a UN protectorate.
Though 43 countries, including the leading Western nations, have recognized Kosovo, Serbia refuses to acknowledge the departure of its southern province and has, with Russia's backing, so far blocked its induction into the United Nations and other international institutions.