Four north Kosovo municipalities hold inaugural sessions
The inaugural sessions were held in north Kosovo late on Saturday when councilors and the majority of mayors signed official statements and took office.Source: Tanjug
Both the premises, where the signing ceremony was held, and the statements, which the mayors and councilors signed, "had no state symbol," Tanjug reported.
The signing ceremony in all four north Kosovo municipalities - North Mitrovica, Zvečan, Zubin Potok and Leposavić was held behind the closed doors.
North Kosovska Mitrovica Mayor Krstimir Pantić, who had earlier resigned as deputy director of the Serbian Government Office for Kosovo, and two councilors did not sign the statement.
Nebojša Vlajić, one of the councilors who signed the statement in Zvečan on Saturday evening, told Tanjug that his fellow councilors, Mayor Vučina Jankovic and he made ceremonial statements and thus took office.
“As of tonight, we can consider the bodies of the municipality of Zvečan constituted,” he said.
Asked whether the statements they signed had "any symbols of Kosovo's statehood, " Vlajić said that there were no symbols at all, adding that the upper part of the statement was covered with a sticker so it was impossible to see what was beneath it.
“I tried to remove the sticker, but it was impossible without damaging the document. I believe that the statement was status-neutral,” Vlajić said.
The ethnic Albanian councilors in northern Kosovska Mitrovica "were given written statements bearing the symbols of the statehood of Kosovo," Tanjug said.
The entire process of inaugural sessions in the four municipalities was observed by representatives of the EU Office in Kosovo, the OSCE Mission and the Kosovo Ministry of Local Government Administration, and they will assess the legality of the procedure.
The sessions were held after consultations, which lasted the entire day, between Serb representatives and officials of the EU Office in Kosovo.
Aleksandar Vulin, Serbian minister without portfolio in charge of Kosovo, expects that the Central Electoral Commission (CIK) will provide its interpretation of the situation that arose after Kosovska Mitrovica Mayor Krstimir Pantić failed to take office, which calls for new elections for the Mitrovica mayor, while Pantić's act is, as he put it, no longer important.
“I guess that CIK will say that the elections for the mayor should be repeated. This is not something we needed at the moment, to spend energy on new elections,” Vulin told Tanjug.
Given that the mayor in north Kosovska Mitrovica has not been appointed as Pantić did take the oath, Vulin said that this will certainly delay the formation of the community of Serb municipalities, but added that this halt is expected to be short and temporary.
“I sincerely regret this, since I believe that the end result of all our efforts is the formation of the community of Serb municipalities. I call on the decision makers to enable us to solve this as quickly as possible,” he underlined.
Vulin said that resignation is a personal act, but also a political one, adding that we need to turn to future and address daily issues.
He thanked Serbs in north Kosovo and Metohija "that besides courage, which they have always showed, they are now also showing great dignity and political wisdom."
“Owing to them, we are managing to overcome the obstacles on the way to formation of the community of Serb municipalities and the hindrances that appear in the negotiating process,” Vulin underlined, adding during Saturday evening's constitution of municipalities Serbs stood by the Serbian government and the state of Serbia.
“A new quality of trust between the government and Kosovo Serbs has been created and this yields results regardless of all obstacles coming from various sides,” Vulin underlined, noting that the process of the constitution is over and now Serbs in north Kosovo have legal and legitimately-elected representatives and authorities, which no one can disregard or fail to recognize.