- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
Ahead of a new round of Kosovo-Serbia talks, Serbs in Kosovo have rejected implementation of the Integrated Border Management deal, saying it is tantamount to recognition of Kosovo's independence.
Krstimir Pantic, mayor of the Serbian part of the divided northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica, said that Kosovo Serbs opposed implementation of a deal on management of border crossings.
"The joint assembly of four Serbian municipalities in nortern part of Kosovo has unanimously concluded that the technical protocol on the IBM [Integrated Border Management] is unacceptable," Pantic told Balkan Insight.
"We will bring the case to the Constitutional Court [of Serbia] to rule on the constitutionality of the implementation of the deal," Pantic added.
The IBM deal formed part of the EU-mediated Belgrade-Pristina talks, which started in March 2011.
The basic principle is that all the relevant authorities and agencies involved in border security and trade on both sides of the frontier work together in coordination.
Under the terms of the deal, Kosovo and Serbian customs and police officers will stand under one roof once the agreement is put into operation.
Police from the EU rule-of-law mission, EULEX, are expected to observe the two sides jointly managing the cross-border flow of goods and passengers.
The deal remains controversial, however, as, although Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, Serbia's 2006 constitution describes Kosovo as part of its own territory.
Northern Kosovo, meanwhile, has remained under de facto control of local Serbs who operate their own so-called "parallel" institutions to those of the Kosovo government.
According to Pantic, Kosovo Serbs believe implementation of the deal will confirm an international border between Kosovo and Serbia, implying recognition of Kosovo's independence.
The meeting of Kosovo Serbs comes at a time when Serbian top officials are supposed to agree key details of a platform for the next round of Belgrade-Pristina talks.
Pantic expressed the hope that Belgrade officials will consult Kosovo Serbs on the Serbian platform.
Former Kosovo Liberation Army commander Fatmir Limaj, on trial for war crimes alongside nine others for allegedly torturing Albanian and Serb detainees, has been put back under house arrest.
As Kosovo parliamentarians prepare to vote on the EU-brokered deal between Pristina and Belgrade, the opposition Vetevendosje [Self-Determination] movement set alight copies of the agreement.
Ties between Belgrade and Pristina will now be handled directly by new liaison officers in another step towards implementing their EU-brokered deal aimed at normalising relations.
Under fire from ex-Kosovo Liberation Army fighters and war veterans’ groups, the EU rule-of-law mission said it would continue to prosecute suspects despite the criticism.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter to find a solution that would enable Kosovo football players to play official FIFA games.
Kosovo officials have raised concerns that they may not be able to afford to properly compensate wartime rape victims despite pressure from rights campaigners.
Kosovo's alleged receipt of a verbal recognition pledge from Yemen raises questions about the number of countries that have actually recognised its independence.
It’s increasingly no longer a question of whether Romania will recognise Kosovo’s independence but when, analysts say.
Belgrade and Pristina have failed to make headway during negotiations on an international dialling code for Kosovo and a licence for a Serbian mobile phone operator in Kosovo.
As Pristina and Belgrade mull the EU-brokered deal of April 19, Kosovo's parliament backs reciprocal rights for ethnic Albanians in southern Serbia.
Brussels agreement has left Serbs in north Kosovo uncertain about what the future holds - and whether they should remain at all.