UN blames Kosovo’s opposition violence for delayed agreements

Thu 4 Feb 2016

UN blames Kosovo’s opposition violence for delayed agreements

On 3 February, in his latest report on Kosovo, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon showed his concern about the violent tactics of the opposition parties in Kosovo. These violence actions have resulted in a delay of implementing certain agreements Between Pristina and Belgrade. This applies the implementation of the Belgrade-Pristina agreement from 19 April 2013, and the subsequent 25 August 2015 agreement.

The agreement of 2015, on normalization of their relations, included deals on energy, telecommunications and the bridge that divides the town Mitrovica into a Serbian and Albanian part. Also the Association of Serb-majority municipalities (ASM) in Kosovo is important in this agreement. The deal envisages that the ASM will be drafted within four months, and that it will be “a legal entity defined by a statute and will to promote the interests of the Kosovo Serb community in its relations with the Kosovo central authorities.” The opposition parties oppose this association and the border demarcation deal with Montenegro as well. In December Kosovo’s Constitutional Court approved the creation of the municipal association, but said as well that some of the principles do not fully comply with the constitution.

UN Report
The latest report covers the period from 16 October to 15 January and will be discussed later this month at the UN Security Council. It notes that this period was characterized by turmoil and disruption of the Kosovo Assembly. According to the report, the opposition was responsible for the protests against the package agreements from August. The priorities of the UNMIK mission will remain the same: stability, improving security and respect for human rights. The continuation of cooperation with Pristina and Belgrade remains an important feature as well. Despite of the political violence during the protests, the overall security situation in Kosovo has remained stable during this period.

Belgrade-Pristina dialogue
Ban Ki-Moon is concerned about the use of violence in Kosovo and states: “The continued use of violence and inflammatory rhetoric of the opposition is a cause for serious concern. Such actions are unacceptable and have no place in a democratic society and can only have a negative impact on Kosovo.” However, he underlines in the report that he “appreciates the commitment of Pristina and Belgrade to continue the high-level meetings within the framework of the dialogue with mediation from the EU in the nearest future”. The Belgrade-Pristina dialogue is a series of talks facilitated by the EU. Serbia claims Kosovo as its southern province and rejects independence. On the other hand, Kosovo considers Serbia a neighbouring state. Since Kosovo declared independence in 2008, the talks that started in 2011 were the first negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia.

Sources: BalkanInsight, B92, Tanjug