Kosovo Police securing the perimeter of the Isa Boletini school in Zveçan, where the swearing-in ceremony of the Mayor of Zveçan, Ilir Peci, was held. Photo: BIRN

Embassies of QUINT and EU Condemn Kosovo’s Decision to Force Access in the North

In a joint statement, the QUINT countries have urged the Government of Kosovo not to take any new measures to access municipal buildings in Leposavic, Zubin Potok, and Zvecan. The statement warns that new unilateral actions will negatively impact relations with the QUINT countries and the EU.

The embassies of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, along with the European Union in Kosovo, released a statement on Sunday condemning Kosovo’s decision to force access into municipal buildings in the north of Kosovo.

“New unilateral actions will negatively impact relations with the QUINT countries and the EU,” it says in the joint statement.

They expect the Government of Kosovo to refrain from taking any new measures to force access to the municipal buildings in Leposavic, Zubin Potok, and Zvecan.

The QUINT countries and the EU emphasize that the EU-facilitated Dialogue is the path to the normalization of relations and EU accession.

Viola von Cramon, the rapporteur for Kosovo in the European Parliament, called on the new municipal leaders not to enter the municipal buildings in this situation.

“I have to admit that even if you are de jure elected mayors, it does not mean that you have the legitimacy to enter municipal buildings,” she said via video message from the Ibër bridge.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, has announced that he discussed the situation in northern Kosovo with the Secretary-General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.

Borrell stated that they have agreed that Prishtina should not escalate the situation and should not take unilateral and destabilizing steps.

The EU stated on Friday that it will not accept any further unilateral or provocative actions and that maintaining peace and security on the ground must be a priority.

On the other hand, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, reacted to the developments in the north by condemning the actions of the Government of Kosovo, which he says “escalate tensions in the north and increase instability.”

The situation in the north has remained calm over the weekend. The Kosovo police, KFOR, and EULEX have remained near the municipal buildings in the northern municipalities. Additionally, the Kosovo police have removed Serbian flags from the municipalities and replaced them with the Kosovo flag.

The protest of Friday by ethnic Serbs in Kosovo resulted in police officers being injured, and there was damage to Kosovo police vehicles.

Dozens of Serbs gathered in the courtyards of three municipal buildings in the north of Kosovo, namely Zubin Potok, Leposavic, and Zvecan, to block the new Kosovo Albanian mayors from taking office.

The Kosovo Police deployed armored cars to the north, while the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, has ordered the army to be on high alert.

29/05/2023 - 09:07

29 May 2023 - 09:07

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