news 28 Dec 16

Mustafa Calls Serbia’s Role in Kosovo ‘Destructive’

After Kosovo Serbs decided to again withdraw from Kosovo state institutions on Belgrade’s demand, the Prime Minister criticized Serbia’s role as ‘destructive and unacceptable’.

Die Morina
BIRN
Pristina
Isa Mustafa at the press conference on Wednesday | Photo: BIRN

The ethnic Serbian party in Kosovo’s coalition government, Srpska Lista, on Wednesday stated that following a request from Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, it would again freeze its participation in Kosovo institutions.

The party also said that Mirjana Jevtic, who last week replaced Ljubomir Maric as Minister for Local Government, will resign from her post.

“Aleksandar Vucic is the head of our government and his authority for us, as well as for all Serbs in Kosovo, is undisputed,” Srpska Lista wrote in a statement.

Isa Mustafa, Kosovo’s Prime Minister, sacked Maric on December 16, after he accompanied Marko Djuric, the head of Serbian government’s Kosovo office, on a visit to Kosovo that was not approved by the Pristina authorities.

Instead of Maric, a member of Serbia’s ruling Progressive Party, Mustafa appointed Jevtic from the Socialist Movement.

The move caused disturbance among Kosovo Serb politicians, who – although originally from different parties – entered the Kosovo parliament together after forming an election coalition, Srpska Lista.

Srpska Lista has been boycotting Kosovo institutions since October when the Kosovo parliament approved a law on the Trepca mining complex. Last week a few Serb MPs returned to attend a parliament session, but only briefly.

Following Jevtic’s appointment, after Vucic held a meeting with Kosovo Serbs on December 26, he issued an ultimatum demanding that the government restore Maric to office and remove the new appointee, Jetvic.

The Kosovo Prime Minister responded to the announcement stating that his decision to dismiss Maric was definitive.

“Maric is dismissed and his dismissal is permanent for this mandate and we will not regret it because he did not deserve to be member of government,” Mustafa said on Wednesday.

Mustafa added that he would inform the EU about the latest acts of the Serbian government.

“The position of the Serbian government is wrong, destructive and unacceptable. We will address the EU to let them know that we have to do with a government and a country that does not implement agreements and is not interested in the stabilization of relations,” Mustafa said.

BIRN tried to reach Mirjana Jevtic, but she was unavailable for comment.

Kosovo analysts agreed that Mustafa cannot now reappoint Maric.

“The government must not accept any ultimatum from Belgrade. If they do such a thing, it would be political suicide,” analyst Imer Mushkolaj told BIRN, adding that Mustafa should act according to Kosovo’s own laws and constitution.

Political analyst Belul Beqaj told BIRN that accepting Belgrade’s conditions would mean accepting that Serbia actually rules Kosovo.

“If the Kosovo PM considered [agreeing to] such an ultimatum, the PM should urgently be dismissed, because the return of a dismissed minister would mean that Kosovo is publicly governed by Serbia’s own PM,” Beqaj said.

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