Serbs from north announce referendum

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, PRIŠTINA -- Kosovska Mitrovica Mayor Krstimir Pantić stated on Sunday that a referendum should be held in northern Kosovo on February 15, which is also Statehood Day.

A file photo of the administrative line crossing of Merdare
A file photo of the administrative line crossing of Merdare

It will give the citizens a chance to declare themselves on whether they wish to accept the Kosovo institutions in the north of the province.

After the meeting between the representatives of Serbs from northern Kosovo held in Zvečan, Pantić said that the four municipal leaders will make a decision on the holding of the referendum during the week, adding that the date will most likely be confirmed at the joint session of municipalities.

The Serbian government's regulation on freedom of movement at administrative crossings with Kosovo is unacceptable for the Serbs in Kosovo, Pantić told Tanjug.

He confirmed that the meeting in Zvečan was attended by head of the Koovska Mitrovica District, presidents of four municipalities from northern Kosovo as well as parliament speakers, and committee presidents in local parliaments.

The regulation is detrimental to the Serbs living in Kosovo-Metohija and we do not agree with it, but we do not have the authority to put itout of force, Pantić underlined.

Referring to the barricades in northern Kosovo, Pantić said that they will remain there, noting, however, that the local citizens will not enter conflicts with KFOR and EULEX, and that in case the barricades are removed, the Serbs will set up new ones.

Meanswhile in Priština, Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Redzepi said that insurance will be charged starting today for vehicles entering Kosovo from central Serbia, but that in the Serb-dominated north, "this measure will not take hold immediately because there are no conditions for it yet."

The Kosovo Albanian authorities also announced that they will charge EUR 60 per vehicle arriving from central Serbia, and that this price will span 15 days. A body in charge of insurance also said that this price was "reciprocal" to that that will be charged for vehicles entering central Serbia from the direction of Kosovo.