Serbian PM warns NATO against recognizing Kosovo.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica warned NATO members on Sunday of serious consequences if they unilaterally recognize the independence of the Serbian southern province of Kosovo.

"The fact that NATO bombed Serbia without the UN Security Council's approval is its huge mistake, big enough for the last and this century," Kostunica told a meeting of his ruling Democratic Party of Serbia.

Any new, even the slightest, mistake of the NATO regarding Kosovo would have serious consequences, the prime minister warned.

Serbia announced a new constitution earlier this month, which enshrines Kosovo as an "inalienable" part of Serbia.

The document, unanimously adopted by the Serbian parliament on Sept. 30, was officially confirmed in the national referendum on Oct. 28 and 29.

Still, Kostunica said he was confident that "NATO countries would not recognize Kosovo's independence unilaterally, without a relevant UN Security Council decision, or in violation of such a decision."

Technically still a part of Serbia, Kosovo, a place with ethnic Albanians taking up about 90 percent of the population, has been kept under the UN administration since 1999 in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

NATO launched a 78-day bombing campaign on former Yugoslavia in 1999 without the approval of the UN Security Council under the pretext of seeking an end to the ethnic conflicts in Kosovo.

Martti Ahtisaari of Finland, the UN envoy for Kosovo, has said he would wait to present his plans for the future of Kosovo to the UN Security Council until after Serbia's general elections on Jan. 21 next year, delaying the scheduled end-of-year deadline.

This delay drew concerns from Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha who said further delays in deciding Kosovo's final status would threaten the delicate peace and stability in Kosovo and beyond.

Kostunica said the Serbian government was confident that the UN Security Council would never violate the UN Charter and the explicit provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 on Kosovo as part of Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He said it was important for the NATO member countries to "strictly abide by Resolution 1244 and international law principles."

[Source: Xinhua News Agency, Serbio 20Nov06]

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