Conflicts & War

Serbia president wants northern Kosovo to return to normalcy

Bulboaca, Moldova, Jun 1 (EFE).- Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic pledged Thursday to work towards preserving peace and stability in northern Kosovo, amid heightened tensions between ethnic Serb protesters and Nato’s KFOR force.

“We will try to do our utmost to get things back to normal and de-escalate. Whether that will happen or not, it takes two to tango, it does not depend only on us,” Vucic said upon his arrival in the Moldovan town of Bulboaca, where the second summit of the European Political Community (EPC) is being held on Thursday.

The Serbian leader said that he had again asked ethnic Serbs in Zvecan, Leposavic and Zubin Potok, three municipalities in northern Kosovo, to protest peacefully.

Hundreds of Serbs, a majority in those northern municipalities but a minority in Kosovo overall, took to the streets again on Thursday to demand the removal of the new ethnic Albanian mayors, elected in April in polls that were boycotted by ethnic Serbs.

Kosovo special police last week forcibly dispersed the Serb demonstrators for the mayors to be able to access their offices in municipal buildings.

The United States and the European Union condemned the police response, saying it fueled the subsequent crisis that culminated in violent riots on Monday that left with 50 civilians and 30 Nato soldiers injured.

Nato said this week that it would be sending an additional 700 troops to reinforce the KFOR peacekeeping mission.

Vucic will meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Thursday in an attempt to resolve the crisis.

The Serbian president said that the situation “is very complicated”, and accused the Kosovo government of months of provocations against the Serbian people, and thanked the US for its condemnation of Pristina for the recent escalation.

“I hope that this will be the case also with the Europeans, but I am not sure if it will be with everyone,” he said.

Vucic blamed the tensions on “the obstinacy and irresponsibility of one party,” referring to Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

Kosovo, a former Serbian province with a large Albanian majority, unilaterally proclaimed independence in 2008, which Serbia does not recognize. EFE


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