Kosovo president rejects Serbian counterpart's partition proposal

Any division of Kosovo, which seceded from Serbia 10 years ago, would be 'unacceptable', President Hashim Thaci says.

    Thaci said an agreement on 'mutual recognition' with Serbia must be reached as soon as possible [File: Hazir Reka/Reuters]
    Thaci said an agreement on 'mutual recognition' with Serbia must be reached as soon as possible [File: Hazir Reka/Reuters]

    Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has ruled out a partition deal proposed by neighbouring Serbia as part of negotiations aimed at ending a long-running dispute between the two countries.

    Thaci said on Tuesday that any division of Kosovo, which seceded from Serbia 10 years ago, would be "unacceptable".

    "I want to assure the people of Kosovo that there will be no force that will make Kosovo discuss and ... agree to partition," he told a press conference.

    An agreement on "mutual recognition" between Serbia and Kosovo must be reached as soon as possible, Thaci added on Wednesday, and may include "a correction" of borders.

    'Demarcation' proposal

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    Thaci's comments followed Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's call earlier this week for a "demarcation" agreement between the two countries, who are embroiled in a long-running dispute which has hindered both sides' ambitions to join the European Union.

    Vucic suggested North Kosovo, which is mainly populated by Serbs, could be handed over to Serbia as part of the agreement, with the region surrounding the southern Serbian town of Presevo, which has a majority-Albanian population, transferred to Kosovo in exchange.

    Earlier this month Vucic and Thaci met Frederica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, as part of ongoing talks aimed at establishing a legally binding agreement between the two countries.

    Independence dispute

    Serbia lost control of what is now Kosovo in 1999 after a NATO bombing campaign aimed at halting the violent repression of ethnic Albanian separatists.

    Though it lost control over the territory, Belgrade continues to claim sovereignty over Kosovo and Serbian leaders, backed by Russia, have vowed never to recognise the country's independence.

    Since its declaration of independence in 2008, Kosovo has, however, been recognised by more than 100 states, including the United States and the majority of the EU's 28-member bloc.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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