President cancels Kosovo trip over "harassment of his aides"
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic will not travel to Kosovo and Metohija, where he was to spend Friday, January 6, Christmas Eve.Source: B92, Beta, Vecernje novosti
Serbian Orthodox Christians will celebrate Christmas on January 7, according to the Julian Calendar.
Nikolic was to spend the day in Strpce, his press service announced on Wednesday.
But on Thursday, Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti said that the trip was canceled due to the "unfair behavior" of the Pristina authorities, who today "harassed for several hours the president's closest associates" at the Merdare administrative line crossing.
Previously on Thursday, Nikolic said he would be "as safe as the Serbs who live in Kosovo" when he arrives in Strpse, and that it is his duty to "follow their fate."
He then noted he would "think about his safety if and when he crosses Merdare."
Also on Thursday, Albanian language newspaper Koha Ditore said the Pristina authorities were "yet to make a final decision as Nikolic's request (to enter Kosovo) was still being considered."
It was reported earlier that this request had been approved.
But on Thursday evening, it was announced in Pristina that "the Kosovo government rejected a request by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and other Serbian officials to visit Kosovo on Friday" with "tardiness in the application procedure envisioned by an agreement on visits by senior officials," cited as the reason.
The president previously traveled to Kosovo in 2014 to attend the marking of Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day, June 28) in Gazimestan, near Pristina.