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About a hundred Kosovo Serbs rallied at Jarinje to protest over a border deal that they say implies recognition of Kosovo’s independence.
Up to a hundred Serbs staged a protest on Tuesday at the Jarinje, crossing point between Kosovo and Serbia against the planned implementation of an agreement on Integrated Border Management, IBM.
The agreement was achieved during the EU-led dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade.
Kosovo Police and KFOR said the protesters were positioned on the Serbian side of that border crossing point.
“The protest is happening in the Serbian part of the so-called no-man’s land between Kosovo and Serbia but everything is calm,” Uwe Novitzki, KFOR spokesperson, told BIRN.
Bajram Rexhepi, Kosovo’s Interior Minister, said that “so-called heads of Serbian municipalities and certain groups went to Jarinje causing some damage.
“Work [on the IBM deal] is blocked for the moment. We have already informed our officials in Brussels so measures can be taken,” he added.
Kosovo has said it expects the agreement on IBM with Serbia to start being implemented on December 10.
Serbs in the north of Kosovo strongly oppose the deal, which they say is tantamount to recognition of Kosovo’s independence, declared in 2008.
Details of the IBM deal are to be discussed during today’s meeting between the Kosovo Prime Minister, Hashim Thaçi, and his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic.
They are meeting in Brussels with the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Catherine Ashton.
Atifete Jahjaga, the President of Kosovo, said the agreement on IBM “guarantees stability for both states, strengthens the rule of law at the border points and supports the normalization of interstate relations.”
Agreements between Kosovo and Serbia, mediated by the EU and supported by the US, “have to be implemented because they will ease life of citizens on both sides of the border”, Jahjaga added in a press release, urging Serbia “to remove Serbia’s illegal structures from the territory of Kosovo”.
Kosovo and Serbia have reached seven agreements during the EU facilitated dialogue designed to normalize relations between both parties. None has been fully implemented. The dialogue was launched in March 2011.
Since October, Kosovo’s and Serbia’s Prime Ministers have taken over the main responsibility for the process of talks, which are now being directly mediated by EU High Representative Ashton.
Brussels agreement has left Serbs in north Kosovo uncertain about what the future holds - and whether they should remain at all.
A summary of the key events leading up to tensions in northern Kosovo.