Serbia Hotly Debates Kosovo’s IMF Membership

resizer26The prospect of Kosovo’s acceptance into the International Monetary Fund is raising some awkward questions in Serbia, and has precipitated debate within the country about the fate of the former province’s debt.

The countries that made up the former Yugoslavia have divided up the debt, including IMF obligations, as well as assets of the former country between themselves according to a certain formula.

But since this was done before Kosovo declared independence, Serbia is currently servicing Kosovo’s portion.

Kosovo’s acceptance into the fund will mean that the newly independent country will have to take on its portion of IMF obligations. Doing so would also signify a further step towards the country’s full sovereignty.

Reacting to the news, Serbia’s Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic suggested that his country will benefit as it will not longer have to service Kosovo’s debts, though he added that the ”(IMF) decision is of no political significance”, media reported.

The daily Blic newspaper says that its sources say Serbia is not ready to give up paying Kosovo’s contributions, because by doing so they would tacitly be accepting the former province’s independence.

The daily Kurir newspaper went as far as calling Dinkic a ”traitor” for making the above suggestion.

Elsewhere, members of the government have played down the significance of Kosovo’s IMF entry.

Serbian President, Boris Tadic called Kosovo’s admittance into the fund “not good but not tragic either”.

“This does not mean that by (IMF) membership Kosovo has become an independent state,” he said.

Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic said that “it is of key importance for Serbia that Kosovo cannot become an UN member”, adding that Serbia ”will continue using diplomatic actions to prevent that”.

Earlier this week, Kosovo’s officials said their country has gained enough votes to join the IMF, adding that a vote at the body by more than half the IMF’s member states had produced a majority in favour.

The IMF has so far kept silent on the issue.

The Blic newspaper is reporting that while the vote was wafer thin, countries that voted in favour of Kosovo’s membership have over 70 per cent of the votes in the IMF board, with the US holding 17 per cent of that. The paper says that the results of the vote, that was conducted in secret between April 6 and May 5 this year, will be announced in the coming days.

Serbia and Russia have bitterly opposed the move.

If it is confirmed that the IMF did vote in favour, the fund will become the first key international organisation to accept the country as a member.

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