Deputy PM: Serbia not to accept new Kosovo passports

2008-07-15 21:56:15 GMT       2008-07-16 05:56:15 (Beijing Time)       xinhuanet

BELGRADE, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Serbia will not accept the new Kosovo passports, nor its unilaterally declared independence, Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said Tuesday.

"Serbia will never recognize the independence of Kosovo, nor Kosovo passports, which will be issued by the province's provisional institutions," Djelic said at the town of Svilajnac, 100 kilometers southeast of Belgrade, the official Tanjug news agency reported.

Kosovo's new passports will be issued from July 18 to replace the existing ones issued by the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

Kosovo had been under the administration of the UNMIK until Feb.17 this year, when the ethnic Albanians-dominated province declared independence from Serbia.

Since 1999, Kosovars were using the UN-issued travel documents, instead of real passports.

The documents, according to the Kosovo Interior Ministry, will be valid until they expire, while Kosovars will not be able to extend these documents any more.

Kosovo Interior Minister Zenun Pajaziti said on Monday preparations had been finalized for the issuing of new passports and the citizens would be able to collect them next week.

According to Pajaziti, Kosovo will have four types of passports-- ordinary, official, diplomatic, and travel documents. Passports will be valid for 10 years with a cost of 25 euros (some 40 U.S. dollars) for each.

Djelic said Pristina's decision to issue new travel documents will not be considered as valid, just as all other decisions made by "the self-declared institutions in Pristina."

"Serbia will never establish such relations with itself," Djelic said, referring to Belgrade's firm determination to keep the breakaway province within its borders.

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