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News 10 Feb 16

Kosovo 'on the Brink', US Ambassador Warns

Ambassador Greg Delawie has delivered a stark warning about Kosovo's future, following the failure of the latest high-level attempt to resolve the ongoing political crisis.

Paulina Nushi
BIRN
Pristina
US ambassador to Pristina Greg Delawie | Photo courtesy: US Embassy

Kosovo is heading towards the danger point, the US ambassador said, as the ongoing political deadlock shows no signs of a possible solution.

“Kosovo at this point stands at the brink, progress is possible but it is not assured,” ambassador Greg Delawie told BIRN.

His remarks follow the failure of a high-level meeting between political parties that sought to find a solution to the political crisis.

The meeting, organised by President Atifete Jahjaga, was largely boycotted by the opposition, and only Ramush Haradinaj of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, participated.

Delawie said that he supported Jahjaga’s initiative and was disappointed by the reaction of some of the opposition parties.

“Using words like treason or dictatorship to characterise the decisions that politicians make when they do their job really makes dialogue harder, it makes democracy more difficult,” Delawie said.

The opposition has repeatedly made such accusations towards Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and his ruling-coalition ally, Vice Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, following two controversial Brussels-sponsored agreements with Serbia and Montenegro.

The opposition object to a border demarcation with Montenegro and an agreement with Serbia that envisions the creation of an association of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo.

Haradinaj’s participation in the meeting was also harshly criticised by the opposition Vetevendosje party.

“This meeting with Mustafa and Thaci is a violation of the six-month resistance of the united opposition. It is wrong for the opposition [to participate] and detrimental to Kosovo,” said Driton Caushi, the vice-chairman of Vetevendosje.

Caushi argued that meeting Mustafa and Thaci “means flirting with them to help their ambitions”.

As the opposition has blocked most parliamentary activity since October, even setting off tear gas in the chamber, Delawie said it was imperative for Kosovo’s institutions to become functional again.

“It is very important for the political deadlock to be resolved, I want the assembly to function, I want the members of the assembly able to do the job that their employers, the citizens of Kosovo, are paying them to do,” Delawie said.

Similar remarks by Western officials have been disregarded by the opposition, who say they remain committed to stopping both agreements at any cost.

The opposition is demanding that the government resign and hold snap elections- and has planned a major rally on Kosovo's independence day, 17 February, aiming to force out the government.

“The protest of the united opposition has spread beyond the three [main opposition] political parties… the solution will come through the citizens and there cannot be an institutional solution,” Visar Ymeri, chairman of Vetevendosje, said.

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