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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 April, 2004, 05:38 GMT 06:38 UK
Full text: Vuk Draskovic interview
In an exclusive BBC interview, the new foreign minister of Serbia and Montenegro, Vuk Draskovic, has said the creation of an independent Kosovo is impossible.

He told the BBC's Nick Hawton that any attempt to form such a state would go against the wishes and rights of Serbs living there and would be very dangerous.


Vuk Draskovic
Mr Draskovic said Serbs in Kosovo were suffering
Q: What are your priorities as the new foreign minister?

Partnership For Peace, EU, Nato, full co-operation with our neighbours and approaching peace and stability with Kosovo, before discussing final status of that province.

In March, there was massive, orchestrated, ethnically-motivated violence against Serbs.

It was an explosion of violence and all the world was shocked by the brutality, and finally they realised that things are different.

Serbs now are suffering. Serbs are now victims in Kosovo.

Q: Would you like to see the partition of Kosovo?

Partition of Kosovo means new borders.

We must join the EU, both Serbs and Albanians, and we must eliminate even existing borders between the states of the former Yugoslavia, in the Balkans.

Borders must exist on maps, not in practice. The problem is humans rights.

Q: What is your inclination? What will be the final status of Kosovo?

Very specific position and solutions within Kosovo. Parallel law systems, maybe parallel sovereignties. Everything in the interests of protecting the rights and the common life of Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. I mean the independence of Kosovo is a dream.

Q: But do you think that is what will happen?

It is absolutely impossible. Because the only way to have an independent Kosovo is a decision by the international community to say we are proclaiming the independence of Kosovo against the wishes and rights of Serbs.

I am quite sure the United Nations will not do that. And even if it did happen, it would be very dangerous.

Q: Why?

Because a generation of Serbs would dream of how to liberate Kosovo. And Serbs would become European Jews, dreaming about the liberation of Jerusalem.

If we want Serbs and Albanians together, then that would be impossible if an independent Kosovo was proclaimed
Kosovo must be the common house of both Serbs and Albanians.

If we want a multicultural, multi-ethnic Kosovo, if we want Serbs and Albanians together, then that would be impossible if an independent Kosovo was proclaimed.

Full control by Serbs of Kosovo is impossible.

Independence is impossible.

But a normal democratic, human solution, in a framework of Serbia and Europe, is possible.

Q: Where do you stand on co-operation with the UN War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague?

My stand is very clear. We must fulfil our international obligations and obligations to the Hague tribunal. Our obligation to the Hague tribunal is the biggest obligation of our state.

I am emphasising the word "obligation" and not "co-operation" because we must do that. If you must do something, don't talk about "co-operation".

Q: Do you believe Ratko Mladic (the former Bosnian Serb military commander, charged with genocide) is guilty of war crimes?

It is not my business. I have no right even to answer that question, because only a court can answer that.

Q: Do you think he should face trial?

According to me, all those indicted must face the court.

Q: Is Ratko Mladic in Serbia, do you think?

I don't know, believe me. And according to Serbian politicians, the minister of interior and of the military, he's not.

I don't know. If he was in Serbia that's the obligation of the minister of police and the minister of justice to respect the law, our domestic law.

We adopted a domestic law about our obligations to the Hague Tribunal. One of the conditions to become a part of Europe is to respect the law.



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