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News 03 Oct 16

Kosovo Blocks Serbian Official's Planned Visit

Kosovo on Monday refused to allow Marko Djuric, head of the Serbian government’s Kosovo office, into the country, having ordered him out in September for breaking the protocol on Serbian official visits.

Die Morina
BIRN
Pristina
Marko Djuric, . Photo: Media Centre Belgrade 

Bashmir Xhemaj, an adviser to Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj, told BIRN on Monday that Kosovo had prohibited Marko Djuric, head of the Serbian government's office for Kosovo, from entering the country because he had broken the protocol on official visits.

“He has violated the agreement about the visits of Serbian officials to Kosovo, which obliges them not to issue any political messages that stir tensions,” he said.

Xhemaj added that “Djuric’s behaviour is against the interests of the Kosovo Serbs, too”, recalling that the Kosovo authorities had allowed other Serbian officials to enter the country.

This was Djuric's first attempt to re-enter Kosovo after he being expelled two weeks ago for allegedly making inflammatory political statements.

On September 22, police stopped Djuric in his car in the Serbian enclave of Gracanica and told him to leave the country.

He vowed to return, saying: “I am in Gracanica with my people and I will come again and no one can stop me”.

Djuric was prohibited earlier from entering Kosovo in April, apparently for electioneering in Kosovo on behalf of Serbian's ruling party, the Serbian Progressive Party, SNS.

On that occasion, he issued a similar pledge.

"My message to my colleagues in Pristina is what I always say in this type of situation - see you in Kosovo and Metohija," he said on twitter. [Kosovo and Metohija is the Serbian expression for Kosovo].

BIRN tried to contact Djuric’s office on the latest developments but it did comment on the issue.

Under a 2014 agreement between Kosovo and Serbia on officials visits, the respective countries should initially apply for permits to visit the other through the EU Offices in Pristina and Belgrade.

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