UN court to give opinion on Kosovo within year - Serbian PM

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The UN's highest judicial body will consider the legality of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia for no longer than a year, the Serbian prime minister said Monday.
BELGRADE , October 13 (RIA Novosti) - The UN's highest judicial body will consider the legality of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia for no longer than a year, the Serbian prime minister said Monday.

The International Court of Justice received a Belgrade-initiated request from the UN General Assembly last week to give its advisory opinion on whether the secession of the Albanian-dominated region complied with international law.

"We have been informed that the request will be considered as a matter of urgency, which means we will have to await the decision not for years, but for between six months and a year," Mirko Cvetkovic said at a news conference in Belgrade following a meeting with his Slovak counterpart, Robert Fico.

Decisions by the Hague-based court are not binding, but Belgrade hopes the court's ruling could facilitate new talks on Kosovo's status.

Considered by Serbs to be their religious and historical heartland, Kosovo has been recognized by 50 out of 192 UN member states since February 17, including the United States and most EU countries.

Slovakia is among the five EU members who have not recognized Kosovo's independence.

Fico's brief visit to Serbia was aimed at expanding bilateral cooperation in the economic and cultural spheres. The Slovak prime minister reiterated his country's refusal to recognize Kosovo's independence, saying the declaration breached international law. He also spoke in favor of Serbia's integration into the European Union.

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