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PRESIDENT DEMETRIS Christofias yesterday backed Serbia’s EU accession bid, saying Kosovo should not become an obstacle to its membership.

Speaking after a meeting with Serbian President Boris Tadic in Belgrade yesterday, Christofias said: “Serbia, as a European country, should become a member of the EU, if its people and government so desire, regardless of the Kosovo issue”.

Kosovo was a matter of justice, territorial integrity and sovereignty and had nothing to do with the obligations and criteria that an EU candidate state should fulfil, he added.

Christofias reiterated that Cyprus would never recognise Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence.

“Our opinion is that the EU has to support the Helsinki Final Act, the International Law and the UN Charter, instead of recognising the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo. And even if we become a minority within the EU, we will continue consistently to support this policy,” he said.

Tadic confirmed his country’s readiness to fully co-operate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), as well as his country’s commitment towards its European integration.

Both presidents praised the long standing relations, based on principles, between Cyprus and Serbia.

Christofias was also due to meet Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and other state officials. He is accompanied by the ministers of foreign affairs and commerce. His two-day visit ends today.

By Stefanos Evripidou, Cyprus Mail, February 24, 2009|||Christofias in official visit to Serbia
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