Reports have been circulating in Belgrade's media over the past two days that the European Union has approached the government with a non-official suggestion of a Serbia-Kosovo confederation, as a compromise in the dispute over the region's status.
The issue has been on the international agenda since NATO's 78-day bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia ended a conflict between Serb forces and Muslim Albanian separatists in 1999. The region has remained a UN protectorate ever since.
The minister, Slobodan Samardzic, said in an interview with Belgrade daily Vechernje Novosti that some European politicians were seeking to use the example of Yugoslavia to secure some kind of delayed sovereignty for Kosovo by their drive to form a confederation between Serbia and Kosovo.
"This is absolutely unacceptable for our country," he said.
The minister said it was wrong to compare Kosovo with Montenegro, which seceded from Serbia in 2006 following a referendum.
"Being an autonomous province, Kosovo has never been a federal entity, and therefore cannot establish any unions or confederations with the state of Serbia to subsequently secede and gain independence," Samardzic said.
A UN plan to grant sovereignty to Kosovo, regardless of Serbia's objections, has been removed from UN Security Council agenda under pressure from veto-wielding Russia, Serbia's long-standing ally.
"Kosovo cannot be independent from Serbia now or ever. Our country offers Kosovo self-government and maximum autonomy, but all elements of sovereignty as such remain with Serbia," Samaradzic said.
Christina Gallach, spokeswoman of EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, said Tuesday she had no knowledge of EU proposals of a confederation, while Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica called the idea "absurd."
The Kosovo status issue being considered by a Contact Group, comprised of diplomats from the U.S., Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Russia. The Group has agreed on 120 days of additional talks between Belgrade and Pristina.
Serbia's education minister said Monday talks should focus on "ethnic Albanians' position in the Serbian region," rather than its independence. "To Serbia, it is unacceptable that the Albanian minority should form a separate state on our territory. One Albania is enough for Europe," Slobodan Vuksanovic said.