"Serbia will not waive its southern province of Kosovo, and will consistently defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, insisting on a compromise acceptable to Belgrade as well as Pristina," President Boris Tadic said at a meeting Friday with Sergei Shoigu, Russia's minister in charge of disaster relief, who is visiting Serbia as chairman of the Russian-Serbian cooperation commission.
Moscow, a staunch ally of Belgrade, has repeatedly blocked the European Union and United States' efforts to push through a United Nations resolution granting independence to Kosovo, a predominantly Albanian region that has been a UN protectorate since NATO expelled Serb forces from the province in 1999.
Meeting earlier with Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic, Shoigu said: "Russia's position on Kosovo is well known... It is well-grounded, consistent, and unchanging: this issue must be resolved in direct negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina."
Jeremic said Serbia "still believes that there is a possibility of compromise between Belgrade and Pristina," and expressed his country's appreciation for Moscow's support on the issue.