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news 08 May 13

Kosovo Serbs Seek Russian Aid Against EU Deal

Serbs in the north of Kosovo have written to Russia, seeking Kremlin aid against an EU-brokered deal on Kosovo that they see as a sell-out.

BIRN Belgrade

Leaders of four Serb-run municipalities in the north of Kosovo have demanded that EU-mediated talks on Kosovo resume under the auspices of the UN Security Council and have asked Russia to help them.

"We address you with a request to help us [against...] the unilateral action of Washington, Brussels and Pristina," the letter to Russian officials drafted in the town of Zvecan on Wednesday read.

The letter comes after Kosovo and Serbia adopted a 15-point draft agreement on normalising relations, allowing both sides to advance their integration into the European Union, on April 19 in Brussels.

The draft agreement mainly concerns the future of the Serbian community in Kosovo.

The deal envisions that the local Serbian community will choose its own police commanders, while the composition of the police generally will reflect the ethnic structure on the ground. The draft also proposes more judges coming from the Serbian minority.

Kosovo Serb leaders have condemned the agreement on normalising relations as a first step towards Serbian recognition of Kosovo's independence, proclaimed in 2008.

They reiterated at the session in Zvecan on Wednesday that the Brussels agreement was wholly unacceptable to Kosovo Serbs.

The agreement was "a political, forced agreement that is not based on Serbia’s constitutional and legal order and ... should not be implemented, especially not until the Constitutional Court gives its opinion,” the conclusion reads.

While many Kosovo Serbs see the deal as a sell-out, implementation is seen as crucial for Serbia for it to get a start date for EU accession talks in June.

Since the end of the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s, northern Kosovo has been beyond the Pristina government’s control, while Serbia has continued to finance local security, judicial, health and educational institutions.

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