Jeremic: Syria still refuses to recognize Kosovo independence

            BELGRADE, May 13 (Tanjug) - Syria urges a political solution for the Balkans, and Damascus does not recognize Kosovo as an independence state, Syrian Amabssador to Serbia Majed Shadoud told. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic that his country continues to oppose the recognition of the independence of Kosovo, as it did from the very beginning, Shadoud stated. Syria urges a political solution for the situation in the Balkans and the Middle East and is opposed to any kind of divisions in both regions, regardless of whether religious, ethnic or nationalist reasons are in question," the Syrian ambassador quoted Al-Assad as telling Jeremic during their meeting in Damascus. Tanjug learned in the Serbian Foreign Ministry that Jeremic and the Syrian officials discussed that country's support for the summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference, currently chaired by Syria, to prevent the adoption of a resolution in which Saudi Arabia plans to call on the Islamic countries to recognize the independence of Kosovo. The summit will be held from May 23 - 25 in Damascus. Jeremic received the full support of the Syrian state leadership for Serbia's diplomatic efforts aimed a preserving the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, Tanjug has learned. In Damascus, Jeremic also discussed bilateral relations between Serbia and Syria, especially possibilities for the development of economic cooperation. Shadoud told Tanjug that today's visit by the Serbian foreign minister to Syria is important for the two countries' relations which, in the past, progressed significantly in the political, economic, scientific and trade spheres. Shadoud set out that the two countries' mixed committee was revived, that an agreement on cooperation in the tourism sphere was signed and that economic delegations of Serbia and Syria signed a series of projects. Jeremic also met iwth Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa, parliament Speaker Mahmoud al Abrash and Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallim.