Relatives of people who disappeared during wartime boycotted a session of Kosovo’s missing persons commission after not being allowed to meet EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
The families said they boycotted the committee session on Thursday because they were deeply disappointed that they couldn’t hold talks with Ashton during her current visit to Pristina.
One of them, Bajram Qerkini, whose son has been missing since the end of the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s, said “it was illogical to meet [the commission] bearing in mind that [Ashton], who was 200 metres away, didn’t give any reason why she refused to talk to us”.
“We are disappointed, we feel ignored as we continue to be treated as second or third class citizens, as if nothing happened to some 1,760 people,” Qerkini told BIRN.
Since the conflict between Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas and Serbian government forces ended in 1999, 1,762 people, mainly ethnic Albanians, remain unaccounted for.
Qerkini said the relatives had sent their request for a meeting to the EU Special Representative for Kosovo and the prime minister several days ago.
The EU made no comment on the issue.
Ashton had stressed that work on missing persons must be intensified during one of her meetings at the end of last year with Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic.
But since then, the respective commissions from Pristina and Belgrade haven’t met each other.
The head of the Kosovo commission, Prenk Gjetaj, said that “all actors involved in the missing person issue” would meet on April 4, but did not specify whether Serbian representatives would take part in the talks.
Pristina and Belgrade’s missing persons commissions met twice in 2012.