The Serbian government has adopted a plan which it will implement “in case of a unilateral declaration of independence” by the Albanian majority in its breakaway province of Kosovo.
With Western backing, Kosovo’s Albanians are preparing to defy Serbia objections and declare independence. Belgrade has offered autonomy, but rejects any border changes.
The Serbian plan includes cutting electricity supplies and blocking power routes into the province as well as an embargo on trade.
Meanwhile Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci met Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenburg as EU leaders prepare for talks on Kosovo’s future at the end of this month.
Thaci said: “For Kosovo’s independence, we have no obstacles. It is the will of two million Kosovo Albanians. What we are waiting for is international recognition and we need to wait for this process together.”
Schwarzenburg made his position clear: “I think the European Union should be engaged in Kosovo; Kosovo is in Europe and Kosovo is European and the EU must be engaged here.”
With Serbia going to the polls on Sunday, the political elite is divided on how to respond.
Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica wants a tough response, while President Boris Tadic favours closer ties with the European Union and not a return to the isolation of the war-torn 1990s.