"Kosovo army plan doomed to fail without Serb backing"

Agim Ceku's announcement that Kosovo will soon have its army "is doomed to fail" - as it requires a law that will not be supported by Serb representatives.

Source: Blic
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The Belgrade-based daily Blic writes that Ceku spoke about "a speedy transformation of the Kosovo Security Force into the Armed Forces of Kosovo, immediately after the new Kosovo parliament is formed."

But a law regulating it would have to be supported by two-thirds of assembly's members, and also at least two thirds of those representing minorities.

Considering that Serbs make up one half of that group, "it would mean that some of them would have to vote in favor," writes the daily, and quotes Serb representatives as "negating that possibility."

"This is nothing new. They tried to do the same last year also, and of course did not receive our support," said Slobodan Petrović from the Serb List, who is one of the deputies of Hashim Thaci, the outgoing prime minister of Kosovo.

He believes that the topic has been revived now in the context of the ongoing negotiations to form a new government in Priština, and adds that "as far as the Serb List is concerned this is not an issue."

"If somebody else was deciding on it, then we could be afraid. But since it is us, we have no reason for fear," Petrović said.

Nenad Rašić from the Progressive Democratic Party dismissed the announcement as being "more a case of propaganda, pushed ahead of the Albanian Flag Day holiday."

The daily writes that there is "not much information about the transformation of the KSF into an army - other than that the number of its members should grow from 3,000 to 5,000."

Ceku - a former member of the Yugoslav People's Army, the Croatian police formation ZNG, the Croatian Army, and the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, now the outgoing minister for the Kosovo Security Force - said recently that "the process has widespread support ad powerful international allies."

Asked for comment, a NATO spokeswoman said that this was "an internal affair, up to the local institutions."

Serbian Defense Minister Bratislav Gašić sees Ceku's statement as "an expected provocation":

"Serbia is committed to the road toward the EU and respects all signed international agreements, as well as Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council, which clearly states that no new armed forces can be formed in our southern province."

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