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Serbian Ex-Foreign Minister Calls For Expunging Kosovo From Constitution

Vuk Draskovic, seen here placing flowers in Belgrade on March 9, is a former foreign minister who heads the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO).
Vuk Draskovic, seen here placing flowers in Belgrade on March 9, is a former foreign minister who heads the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO).
BELGRADE -- Former Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic has said Serbia has no sovereignty over Kosovo and should change its constitution to remove references to Kosovo being a part of Serbia, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

He called it a necessary step in discarding a "defeatist policy."

Draskovic, the head of the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement, told RFE/RL he hoped the Serbian ruling coalition partners would accept his proposal and remove references to "Kosovo and Metohija," because the constitution is currently an obstacle to negotiations with Kosovar officials over the status of Kosovo.

"Serbia cannot...offer in negotiations with Kosovo Albanians, which will happen, anything that is contrary to the constitutional preamble that the province of Kosovo and Metohija is part of the sovereign state of Serbia," Draskovic said.

Draskovic said that if the constitution was not changed, Serbia could only offer Kosovar Albanians provincial status within Serbia, which he called "absurd." He said Belgrade would not even be able to offer them substantial autonomy as a territory of Serbia because of the current constitution.

"Serbia has no national sovereignty over Kosovo whatsoever. All of Serbia knows that Kosovo is not really a province within Serbia, that it is completely beyond the control of the government and the state of Serbia," added Draskovic, who was foreign minister in 2004-07. "The emperor is naked, there are no clothes on him, but no one in Serbia can say, 'The emperor is naked!' It will bring no good to this country or our people."

Draskovic said the Serbian people and the future of the country "cannot be held hostage" to the constitution. He said that if the constitution "is an obstacle to the state and national interests, must be changed. I am convinced that this is the only way to put an end to a defeatist policy."

He said he had spoken with Serbian President Boris Tadic about his idea to change the constitution and that he was hopeful that "in the end, [and] we should not be late, state policies will move in this direction."

Draskovic said that Serbia's proposed UN resolution on Kosovo should be very brief. He said it must state "that the UN General Assembly calls upon the authorities in Belgrade and Pristina to start, with the mediation of the European Union and the international community, negotiations on the establishment of a comprehensive cooperation and essential protection of the Serbian people and its religious heritage in Kosovo. Period."

Zoran Glavonjic spoke to Vuk Draskovic