Northern Kosovo "could declare independence"

BELGRADE -- Oliver Ivanović says he does not rule out the possibility that Serbs from northern Kosovo may "declare independence" of that part of the province.

Oliver Ivanović (Beta, file)
Oliver Ivanović (Beta, file)

This could happen if the West continues to insist on the implementation of the agreement on customs stamps and other issues in Priština's favor, the Ministry for Kosovo state secretary said in Belgrade on Friday, after a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Kosovo and Metohija.

Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in early 2008, but Serbia rejected it as an illegal act of secession. Serb north of the Ibar River in the province itself, who form a majority population there, also reject the proclamation, and the authority of the Kosovo Albanian government in Priština.

Now Ivanović told Radio Serbia International that a Serb move to "declare independence" would not be a good idea, "as it would have no particular positive effects".

However, the possibility has not been ruled out, because, as he said, Serbs in Kosovo were "carefully monitoring the moves of their neighbors (ethnic) Albanians".

In view of the announcements of the Serbs from northern Kosovo that they will not support the agreement with Priština on customs stamps which implies the deployment of Kosovo customs officers at the administrative lines, and in view of their request to reexamine further participation of Belgrade in the dialogue with Priština, Ivanović said there is no doubt that everyone has their own approach, noting, however, that "more transparency" was necessary.

"I am firmly convinced that Kosovo Serbs should be a part of the agreement from the very beginning, when different options are formed ahead of entering negotiations, simply because Serbs, especially those in the north, will be a part of the process of implementation of agreements potentially reached in the Belgrade-Priština dialogue," Ivanović underlined.