Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Sixth Extraordinary Sitting of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia

At the request of the Government, the Chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Predrag Markovic, convened the Sixth Extraordinary Sitting of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia for 11 am on Tuesday 12 September 2006.The following agenda was set by the Government in the request for holding the sitting:- Report on the Course of Negotiations on a Political Solution for the Future Status of Kosovo and Metohia The National Assembly sitting was attended by the President of the Republic of Serbia, Boris Tadic, the Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica, cabinet ministers, and negotiating team members Slobodan Samardzic and Leon Kojen.



At the request of the Government, the Chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Predrag Markovic, convened the Sixth Extraordinary Sitting of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia for 11 am on Tuesday 12 September 2006.

The following agenda was set by the Government in the request for holding the sitting:


    - Report on the Course of Negotiations on a Political Solution for the Future Status of Kosovo and Metohia

The National Assembly sitting was attended by the President of the Republic of Serbia, Boris Tadic, the Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica, cabinet ministers, and negotiating team members Slobodan Samardzic and Leon Kojen.

The National Assembly noted the confirmation of the mandate of deputy Dragan Todorovic, elected from the Serbian Radical Party – Dr Vojislav Seselj Electoral List.

At the start of the joint discussion, the National Assembly was addressed by Mr Kostunica. Citing reasons given by the Government for convening the sitting, he underlined that ‘at this historic time, it [was] the responsibility of the Government, the deputies, and our entire generation to state our opinion and together reach a decision on Kosovo and Metohia, the more so as it is being demanded of us to give up Kosovo and Metohia and agree to the formation of another independent Albanian state on our territory’.

‘We need to defend our sovereignty’, Kostunica continued, ‘by all democratic means, before the entire world; and we must clearly let everybody know that, ever since Serbia came into being, Kosovo has been, and will always remain, an integral part of Serbia’. He added that ‘we, who now represent Serbia’s people, have been confronted with the greatest obligation of all – reconfirming this truth once again, by inscribing it this time, in large and indelible letters, into Serbia’s new constitution. This means only one thing – as far as the state of Serbia is concerned, Kosovo will never be independent. At the same time, this means that, even if Kosovo is torn away through an act of legalised violence, as far as Serbia is concerned, it will always be an integral part of the state under the Constitution’.

Presenting the results of negotiations held so far with representatives of the Albanian community from Kosovo and Metohia, Kostunica reiterated that the Albanian side was not interested in serious negotiation, believing that Albanians had been granted something that does not belong to them – namely, an independent Kosovo – in advance. This view is supported by the statement of international mediator Martti Ahtisaari that Serbs were to blame as a people – a statement that should serve as an argument for taking away a part of the Serbian people’s territory. As an expected apology for this insulting remark has failed to materialise, and as new accusations have followed, the National Assembly is obliged to condemn Ahtisaari’s statement clearly and unequivocally, Kostunica said.

According to the Prime Minister, it was in Serbia’s key interest to adopt a new Constitution; as a referendum is necessary for the Constitution to be passed, popular vote will confirm that Kosovo and Metohia is, plainly and simply, Serbia. Everything must be subordinated to this supreme interest of the state and the nation. The Serbian Assembly must find a lasting and comprehensive answer to all possible difficulties Serbia could face in relation to Kosovo; the best answer to all this is to adopt a new Constitution as quickly as possible – by the end of December.

Speaking of Serbia’s participation in negotiations on the future status of Kosovo, Kostunica said that Serbia has shown it was capable of shouldering its part of the responsibility for finding a compromise solution that would satisfy both its key interests and those of the province’s Albanians. ‘Our commitment to compromise gives us the right to resolutely reject and declare invalid any solution that does not stem from an agreement with Serbia’, the Prime Minister said, and concluded his address to the deputies thus:

‘The unanimous conviction of the entire people – that we are fighting for a just and true cause – leaves us with no other option. Today, more than ever, we have the obligation to make use of law and justice to oppose any attempt to impose Kosovo independence. If we truly do all we can and must do for Kosovo and for Serbia, our people and history will certainly not forget it’.

After the deputies were addressed by the co-ordinator of the government’s negotiating team for political negotiations on the future status of Kosovo and Metohia, Slobodan Samardzic, the National Assembly devoted the rest of the sitting to discussing the Report.

After discussion ended, the Assembly was addressed by the President of the Republic of Serbia, Boris Tadic, who said that preserving national interests was the most important task the negotiating team was faced with. ‘This is a very difficult process, where we face substantial temptations; therefore, we must, at every step in the negotiating process, take care to improve our position’, Tadic emphasised, adding that Serbia ‘needed political responsibility more than ever’. Commenting on accusations of ‘sabre-rattling’ on Serbia’s part, Tadic said they hurt the country’s credibility, and that global order based on international law was Serbia’s strongest argument. The President re-iterated his support for the negotiating process and platform, and concluded that Kosovo and Metohia needed special treatment in any new Constitution.

The Assembly Chairman, Predrag Markovic, convened a Voting Day sitting as soon as discussion finished. At the Voting Day sitting, the National Assembly adopted the Report on Activities of the Government Negotiating Team for Political Negotiations on the Future Status of Kosovo and Metohia from 24 February to 10 September 2006, with 221 votes in favour.

With 219 votes in favour, the National Assembly adopted the Proposal of the Decision Following the Report on Activities of the Government Negotiating Team for Political Negotiations on the Future Status of Kosovo and Metohia from 24 February to 10 September 2006.

As the Assembly had concluded discussing and voting on the single item from the sitting’s agenda, Chairman Markovic closed the Sixth Extraordinary Sitting of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in 2006.



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