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Serbian diplomat surprised with Russian sports chief reaction over Kosovo’s UEFA move

"Serbia objects to it and our football union will turn to the court of appeals," Serbian Ambassador to Moscow says
Slavenko Terzic Nikolay Galkin/TASS
Slavenko Terzic
© Nikolay Galkin/TASS

MOSCOW, May 10. /TASS/. Serbian Ambassador to Moscow Slavenko Terzic said on Tuesday he was surprised with Russian Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko’s recent statement on admission of Kosovo to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

"I was surprised when I read Vitaly Mutko’s statement," Terzic said on air of Govorit Moskva (Moscow Speaking) radio station adding that Mutko forgot that "only a member of the United Nations can become a member of UEFA."

Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU) said earlier that UEFA was not the first international sports organization to accept Kosovo as its member as it had been previously done by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Kosovo’s joining FIFA was a matter of time, according to Mutko.

"Serbia objects to it and our football union will turn to the court of appeals," the high-ranking Serbian diplomat added.

Kosovo was admitted to the UEFA at the organization’s Congress on May 3. The UEFA Congress approved the decision by a 28 majority vote, while 24 UEFA members, including the Russian Football Union, voted against. Two ballot papers were declared void.

The Republic of Kosovo is recognized partially. It is not a member of the United Nations. A total of 64 states, including Russia, China, India and Brazil do not recognize Kosovo.

At the IOC session in December 2014 Kosovo’s National Olympic Committee was unanimously granted the right to become a full-fledged member of the Olympic movement. After that a number of sports federations (of track and field athletics, basketball, volleyball, cycling and chess) of the self-proclaimed Kosovo Republic received temporary or permanent membership of the respective international organizations.

Serbian diplomat is against drawing parallels between Kosovo and Crimea

Crimea’s reunification with Russia is different from Kosovo independence and the two cases can hardly be compared, Serbian Ambassador to Russia went on to say.

"We respect the sovereignty of every country. If we insist that Kosovo is part of Serbia,…we cannot recognize other [similar] cases…It is a rather complicated problem. It is hard to compare Crimea to the problem of Kosovo and Metohija," the Serbian diplomat said.

The Treaty of accession of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in the Russian Federation was signed on March 18, 2014. Ukraine, the United States and the European Union refused to recognize the peninsula’s independence and its reunification with Russia.

Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed its independence of Serbia in 2008. In order to be recognized as a sovereign UN state, the authorities of the self-proclaimed republic need to enlist the support of two thirds of 193 UN member states and get a recommendation from the United Nations Security Council.