Serbian Delegation Visit leads to Clashes in Kosovo

Protest1PRISTINA, Kosovo — The visit of the Serbian government official Borko Stefanovic to Kosovo caused strong clashes with Kosovo Albanian protestors. Activists and parliament members from the Kosovar Movement for Self-Determination (‘Vetevendosje’) blocked the entrance of the parliament building in Kosovo’s capital city Prishtina. ‘Vetevendosje’ member Shpend Ahmeti expressed his dissatisfaction about hosting "a person who continuously fights against Kosovo’s independence." Meanwhile Kosovo Police stated, that so far sixteen persons were seriously injured during the protests, of which ten are police officers.

On side of the protestors ‘Vetevendosje’ head MP Albin Kurti was injured by tear gas. As to Kosovar media the protestors smashed windows of police and further official vehicles as well as of three floors of the government building, by throwing stones and bottles of red color – while Stefanovic met the two Kosovo Deputy Prime Ministers Edita Tahiri and Haredejn Kuci.

Stefanovic, who is the head of the Serbian negotiation team at the EU backed Kosovo-Serbian talks in Brussels, was said to have entered and later on left the government building trough a side entrance. After Stefanovic enforced a kind of "self-invitation" to the Republic of Kosovo in the days before, Kosovo Police today accompanied him from the Kosovo-Serbian border to Prishtina.

Different from prior announcements, Stefanovic seemingly didn’t meet further officials from the Kosovar government and from political parties in Kosovo. Reportedly in advance to meetings with Kosovo DPMs Kuci and Tahiri, Stevanovic paid a short visit to US Ambassador Dell and to representatives of Kosovo-Serbs in the Kosovar municipality of Caglavica.  

Kosovo Prime Minister Thaci welcomed Stefanovic’s arrival in Prishtina, by expressing his believe, this would equal another step to a de-facto recognition of Kosovo by Serbia (after Serbia already agreed an administrative division of its claimed territory by accepting against the EU to exclude Kosovo in terms of visa liberalization).

In contrary to this, Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Kosovar negotiation team, Edita Tahiri, was repeatedly quoted as saying, the visit of a Serbian official comes at the wrong time and should happen only after achieving concrete results in Brussels.   

Stefanovic’s visit was the first official meeting of government representatives from Kosovo and Serbia in Prishtina in the post war period since 1999. The visit took place in the context of the EU mediated Kosovo-Serbian dialogue at Brussels. Parts of the Kosovar political opposition don’t agree to according negotiations, by saying the talks would only support Serbia’s EU candidate status, whereas no improvements could be expected for Kosovo.

For more news about Kosovo by Korrik Sofala go to KON / NK

This article was first published on Technorati / Politics

Strong protests in Pristina against today’s visit of Serbian politician Stefanovic
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