"Serbia won’t take independence on chin" Ex-Belgrade negotiating team member Leon Kojen says Serbia must make it clear they won’t "take it on the chin."

"Until Belgrade banishes the impression that Serbia will continue its Euro-Atlantic journey regardless of Kosovo’s fate, the West will believe that imposed independence is not such a bad solution," said the former Belgrade team coordinator for Kosovo.

"Behind almost all these western pledges that Kosovo will be independent lies the theory that the Albanians will be happy, that the Serbs will take it on the chin, and that the western Balkans will receive new impetus and move forward at a faster pace," Kojen told daily Večernje Novosti.

"Serbia must say, more explicitly than it has thus far, that that theory has no foundation - indeed in today’s conditions it’s the constitutional and political obligation of her highest institutions to do so," said Kojen.

With U.S. backing and EU understanding, the Kosovo Albanians continue to dodge a genuine discussion over Kosovo’s status.

He surmised that the Troika in New York must finally broach this subject with the Albanian side because that was their chief function, while at the same time shattering their misconception that independece was the only thing they could talk about at the negotiating table.

[Source: Tanjug News Agency, Belgrade, 26Sep07]

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