Top state officials condemn Kosovo violence

BELGRADE -- Serbia's president, prime minister, foreign minister and parliament speaker all reacted today to the news out of Kosovska Mitrovica.

Đukić-Dejanović, Tadić, Dragan Šutanovac in parliament today (Beta)
Đukić-Dejanović, Tadić, Dragan Šutanovac in parliament today (Beta)

Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić assessed that this morning's attack in Kosovska Mitrovica was an attempt to provoke Serbia and destabilize the region.

Jeremić said that the attack, in which a pediatrician from Kosovska Mitrovica lost his life, was undoubtedly an attempt to provoke Serbia in terms of the future status of Kosovo.

"At this point, I can only say that we are extremely concerned about the obvious attempt to take unilateral steps in northern Kosovo," Jeremić stated in Belgrade, at a joint press conference with his Maltese counterpart Tonio Borg.

Jeremić said that Serbia warned many times that any attempt of unilateral imposition of any steps "can have no other consequences except regional destabilization."

"Unfortunately, the events in Kosovska Mitrovica this morning confirmed our fears," Jeremić stressed, adding that ways are being considered on how to react to this "obvious threat to stability of the space we share".

"We will do everything to pacify the situation, but we will not allow ourselves to be provoked,” Jeremić said.

The explosion happened in the Bosnjaška Mahala district, during a peaceful protest organized by Serbs who reject the announced opening of an office of the Kosovo Albanian government. Police in the ethnically divided town say they still do not know who the perpetrator was.

Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković stated that today's violence in Kosovska Mitrovica represents a terrorist attack and the extremists’ response directed against the efforts to provide permanent stability in the southern Serbian province.

“I appeal on all citizens in Kosovo and Metohija to restrain themselves from violence, to condemn extremism and help competent international organizations to discover the perpetrators of the attack,” the PM said.

“I call upon the members of the international missions to resolve the crime and bring the attackers to justice as soon as possible,” he added.

President Boris Tadić condemned the incited and called on international institutions to do the same. He convened Serbia's Council for National Security in the wake of the explosion this morning, and stressed that Serbia would not react to "provocations".

Serbian Parliament Speaker Slavica Đukić-Dejanović stated on Friday that both international institutions and Serbia as a country need to react to incidents such as the explosion in northern Kosovska Mitrovica that killed one person and injured 11 others.

“Since the protest in Kosovska Mitrovica was peaceful I think that a provocation of this kind calls for fiercest reactions of international institutions and we will respond in that sense as a country,” Đukić-Dejanović told Tanjug.

The parliament speaker added that "the fact that Tadić has called an urgent session of the Council for National Security speaks enough of the need to protect Serbia's integrity, sovereignty and all its citizens."