Serb municipalities "could break off cooperation with EULEX"

ZVEČAN -- Councilors from municipal assemblies in northern Kosovo on Thursday voiced concern over the announced plans of the Priština authorities to form a Kosovo army.

Rakić addresses the meeting on Thursday (Tanjug)
Rakić addresses the meeting on Thursday (Tanjug)

"We see this as an act of open threat to security in the region and the safety of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija", North Kosovska Mitrovica Mayor Goran Rakić said at the assemblies' joint session in Zvečan.

Фorming a Kosovo army "is unacceptable and contrary to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which envisions no army in the province whatsoever", Rakić warned.

"It is an UN-administered territory and there can be only one armed force there - Kfor," Rakić explained.

"We want to inform all international representatives in Kosovo that we want a fair and just relationship, but that we are not ready to act as mediators if the people take to the streets of our municipalities, because we will be with our people in that situation," Rakić noted.

The members of the four municipal assemblies demanded that all recently arrested Serbs be released pending trial.

The leader of the Citizens' Initiative Serbia, Democracy, Justice, Oliver Ivanović was arrested in northern Kosovska Mitrovica in late January on suspicion of alleged war crimes.

For reasons that remain unknown, five other Serbs - four of whom serve in the Kosovo police - were also arrested in the Strpce area on March 4.

Kosovska Mitrovica Assembly chair Ksenija Božović "demanded that Priština and the international community immediately end their campaign of arrests, intimidation and constant escalation of tensions in Serb-populated areas in Kosovo."

The assembly members demanded from representatives of the international community and the Priština authorities that all Belgrade officials, in particular Minister for Kosovo Aleksandar Vulin, be allowed to enter the province in line with the Brussels agreement, which guarantees freedom of movement to anyone.

They announced that the Serb municipalities will be forced to break off their cooperation with the EU office in Priština and the EU mission, EULEX, "unless international structures in the province meet these minimal conditions."

"The Serbian government and the state of Serbia are our only allies and collaborators. We will speak to everyone, the international community and the interim institutions in Priština. Whether we will have cooperation shall depend on the extent to which our positions are accepted by those we will be speaking to," Rakić said.