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Serbian Premier Kostunica (file photo) (CTK)
21 November 2005 -- Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica today ruled out independence for the UN-run province of Kosovo in a strongly worded speech to parliament.
Kostunica said Kpsovo's ethnic Albanian majority should have wide autonomy within Serbia but warned that granting them independence on sovereign Serb land would "undermine the foundations of the world order."
"An independent Kosovo would mean that violence, violations of human rights, ethnic cleansing, and cultural genocide pay," he said. "It would put in question many widely accepted values and undermine the foundations of the world order. No one should mistake the possible consequences of such a precedent."
As parliament in Belgrade endorsed Kostunica's position without dissent, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari arrived in Kosovo to start a shuttle mission aimed at bridging two mutually exclusive visions -- Serb insistence on sovereignty and Albanian demands for outright independence for the province.
Kosovo's UN governor, Soren Jessen-Petersen, said he sees little prospect of a mutually acceptable deal, more than six years after Kosovo became a UN protectorate.