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News 02 Sep 16

Serbs Deny Pressurizing Kosovo Govt Over Border Vote

A Belgrade official and a Kosovo Serb leader denied claims that they demanded concessions in return for supporting Pristina’s now-delayed border demarcation deal with Montenegro.

BIRN Staff
Marko Djuric, head of the Serbian government’s Kosovo office. Photo: Media Centre Belgrade

Marko Djuric, head of the Serbian government’s Kosovo office, on Friday said the main Kosovo Serbian party had failed to attend a key session of the Kosovo parliament - due to adopt a controversial border deal - because it was being ignored.

“Sit and talk to these people, fulfill what you have failed to do despite promising to, and then maybe their stand will be different,” Djuric told Serbian public broadcaster, RTS, addressing the authorities in Kosovo.

Kosovo’s parliament was supposed to adopt an important border demarcation deal with Montenegro on Thursday amid mass protests by opposition parties, which that claims the deal deprives Kosovo of thousands of hectares.

The vote was always going to be close, and was duly postponed after the 11 Kosovo Serb minority MPs failed to show up.

Djuric claimed that Kosovo’s ruling parties had failed to conduct any real dialogue with Srpska Lista or meet their obligations to it.

The Kosovo Serb party is part of the current ruling coalition in Kosovo, which includes the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, the Kosovo Turk Democratic Party and other minority groups.

Isa Mustafa, Kosovo Prime Minister, cancelled the vote, saying he would not bow to demands for concessions, presumably to the Kosovo Serbs.

“It is not in order to discuss this [border deal] while there is pressure and threats from MPs, with a parliamentary group conditioning this law on concessions,” he said.

Kosovo’s Ministry of Local Government on Thursday said that it had appointed new members of the management team in charge of the process and was starting other activities designed to support the process of fulfilling the legal criteria for the creation of the association.

Under the Brussels agreement of August 25, 2015, Serbia and Kosovo agreed to set up an autonomous Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo, but it has not been implemented as yet.

Slavko Simic, head of Srpska Lista, told BIRN it was not true that Srpska Lista had agreed to support the vote in favour of the demarcation deal in return for action on the formation of an autonomous Association of Serbian Municipalities.

“Agreement on the Association of Serbian Municipalities is an international agreement, signed and verified in Brussels between Kosovo and Serbia,” he said on Thursday.

“We absolutely did not want to put any conditions on the issue of the formation of the Association of Serb Municipalities. This is just speculation,” Simic added.

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