The new assembly of the northern municipality has approved the request to reopening the bridge over the Ibar – closed since the end of the war – a move condemned by Kosovo’s main Serbian party.
The assembly of the municipality of North Mitrovica, on the proposal of member Aida Ferati-Doli, on Friday approved a request for the reopening of the main bridge over the Ibar river to traffic, although the Belgrade-backed Lista Srpska Party deemed the decision illegal.
The speaker of the assembly, Nedzat Ugljanin, told Kosovo media that they are seeking only to restore something that existed 20 years ago. He added that the decision would now be sent to security structures to enforce implementation.
“According to … the proposal of Aida Ferati-Doli, who asked the assembly to include this decision on the agenda … we have decided on the free circulation of vehicles in the space on the bridge. This does not depend on the assembly but on the security structures, on the Kosovo Police, EULEX and KFOR,” he declared.
Thirteen assembly members voted in favour of the decision, one abstained and one was against.
The 16 previous assembly members from Lista Srpska were replaced in December last year, after they resigned. They quit as part of the collective withdrawal of Serbs from the institutions of Kosovo in the north in protest against Prishtina’s decision to outlaw Serbia-issued vehicle license plates.
Lista Srpska condemned the approval for the reopening of the bridge over the Ibar. On Facebook, it warned that the eventual opening of the bridge will undoubtedly cause incidents.
“Lista Srpska strongly condemns the illegal and illegitimate decision of the illegal parliamentary majority in North Mitrovica to open the city’s main bridge for motor traffic, which violates the Brussels agreements and directly threatens peace in this area,” the party said.
According to the party, the decision will have great negative consequences for peace, security and coexistence in these areas, and it asked KFOR and the international community not to allow its implementation.
“We demand that KFOR, EULEX and the representatives of the international community urgently prevent implementation of this decision, give space for the resolution of open issues in dialogue and in this way preserve peace in these areas,” it said.
Since the war in Kosovo, the bridge over the Ibar has divided Mitrovica into two parts, a southern part with an Albanian majority, and a northern part, with a Serbian majority. Today, they are two separate municipalities.
An agreement on revitalization of the Mitrovica bridge was reached on August 25, 2015 by the former prime minister of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa, and President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic.
The time determined by this agreement for the opening of the bridge was January 20, 2017, but since then nothing has happened.
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