Serb radical wants Russia military base

Dec. 18, 2007 at 3:32 PM
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BELGRADE, Serbia, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A Serbian extreme nationalist said a Russian base in Serbia and an existing U.S. base in Kosovo would keep military balance in the Balkans.

Tomislav Nikolic, leader of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party that is the single biggest group in parliament, said Serbia is not strong enough to fight NATO troops that have been deployed in Serbia's mainly ethnic-Albanian Kosovo province since 1999, Belgrade's B92 Radio reported Tuesday.

Nikolic, who is scheduled to run Serbia's Jan. 20 presidential election, said Serbia would be safe and secure if Russia put a military base on Serbian territory.

"If we already have the American base in Kosovo, why cannot we have a Russian base in Serbia," the B92 radio quoted Nikolic as saying.

Over the past eight years, Kosovo has been U.N.-administered territory and U.S. troops built their base there.

With Serb-Kosovo Albanian talks on the province's future status ending in a deadlock early this month, the United States and most of the European Union's countries have indicated they may accept independence unilaterally declared by Kosovo leaders next year.

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