Government officials react after being stopped at Jarinje
Kosovo police have prevented Education Minister Mladen Sarcevic and Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric from entering Kosovo.Source: Tanjug
They were stopped on Monday at Jarinje - an administrative crossing between Kosovo and central Serbia.
Tanjug is reporting that Sarcevic and Djuric were on their way to Kosovska Mitorivca, where they were to open a student health-care institution at the Student Center.
The Center belongs to the dislocated University of Pristina that is temporarily seated in this northern Kosovo town.
The money to build and equip the student polyclinic was set aside by the Serbian government.
Djuric reacted on Monday by warning that Pristina's violated the freedom of movement agreement, "as well as everything that was agreed upon in relation to this type of activity."
"I can only say that this is a wider scenario of attempts to destabilize Belgrade-Pristina relations, an attempt to halt work on normalization of relations, an attempt to, among other things, prevent the establishment of a parliamentary majority needed to set up institutions in Pristina," Djuric told Tanjug, and stressed that the visit was duly announced.
Obviously, he believes, "somebody wants to provoke chaos by poking their finger in the eye and trying to shut down Serb institutions in KiM (Kosovo and Metohija) - and that his only message was that "Serb institutions in Kosovo not only will not be shut down, but new ones will be opened."
Djuric also said that, despite the ban, they could have reached Kosovska Mitrovica today - "but did not want to jeopardize anyone's safety."
"Not even the safety of those Albanian... I guess they are policemen, uniformed people. We did not want their jeopardize their security, either, but we will continue to visit Kosovska Mitrovica and KiM whenever we want to, and when we consider it necessary," Djuric said.
Pointing out that "Serb institutions will continue to function, strengthen, as well as the entire Serb system," Djuric added that "we will live to see much more better and freer days for our people in Kosovo."
The visit, he said, was duly announced to the Pristina institutions, while what happened was "Pristina's failed attempt to prevent the opening of a new student polyclinic in Kosovska Mitrovica."
"It might happen that those who want to dismantle Serb institutions in Kosovo and Metohija will themselves experience institutional shutdown, because in our history, we have seen many times aggression and arrogance defeated in the end, and I am convinced that will be so in this case as well," said Djuric.
He announced that Serbia, as an Interpol member, would examine the responsibility of all those who hinder freedom of movement and endanger human rights by arresting Serbs, and who are taking other steps to undermine inter-ethnic relations and the political and security situation in Kosovo.
Sarcevic described the experience from the Jarinje administrative crossing as "very un-civilizational behavior and a strange act" - all the more so because, he said, "nobody provoked it."
"Indeed, this is completely unreasonable, to be sent back as if we were some smugglers from the border," Sarcevic told Tanjug.
He recalled that the Albanian side "knows it very well" that UNSC Resolution 1244 makes Serbia is responsible for educating its citizens, as well as for the curriculum, programs and overall education activity, from kindergarten to university.
"That means they had no reason nor explanation," said Sarcevic, pointing out that he was "not delving into politics."
He added that had a lot of work in awaiting them in Kosovska Mitrovica and that the visit was announced in advance. "We wanted to also form a student parliament in Kosovska Mitrovica," Sarcevic remarked.
Sarcevic then asked "EU and Kosovo institutions representatives" whether they think that he should receive Kosovo's education minister when they come to Belgrade for a conference of Western Balkans ministers.
"I think that I will not. I have every right to say it like this, publicly - and then they have to ask me why not," the minister said.