Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, finally broke his silence with regard to the recent inflammatory comments by government officials in both Serbia and Russia about Kosovo’s independence. Thaci vowed that Kosovo will guard every “inch” of its territory — clearly referring to the heavily disputed area of North Mitrovica. Obviously, though, that is easier said than done.
Indeed, a showdown is in the making. Will NATO and KFOR force the issue in North Mitrovica? Or will the international community let sleeping dogs lie and let North Mitrovica essentially be a no-man’s zone? As of now, the ball is in Serbia’s court. If Serbia keeps the status quo, I think the answer will lie in the decision to make no decision about North Mitrovica. However, if Serbia takes affirmative steps to establish itself in North Mitrovica, then a likely showdown between Serbia and the international community will come to fruition. In the end, a test of diplomatic will and skill will be demonstrated . . . or not.
Serbia, for their part, promised to sue all countries that have recognized Kosovo’s independence. Serbia’s Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica promised to turn the dispute into a legal “minefield” (interesting choice of words, Kostunica). In light of their lawsuit, Serbia’s Branislav Ristivojevic warned the United States — and by extension all other countries — to annul their recognition of Kosovo’s independence. I assume that if the United States and other countries annul their recognition of Kosovo’s independence, Serbia will withdraw the lawsuit.
Good luck with that. I’m on the edge of my seat.
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci vowed Tuesday to guard jealously every “inch” of its territory, as Serbia threatened to sue the United States for recognising a “phoney state.” “We will never allow Kosovo’s territorial integrity, which has been internationally recognised, to be jeopardised,” Thaci told reporters on a visit to Racak, the scene of a massacre by Serb security forces in 1999 which prompted a NATO air war on Serbia in defence of the ethnic Albanian community.
The authorities were in “permanent touch” with the UN mission in the former Serbian province and also cooperating with NATO-led peacekeepers (KFOR) deployed in the territory, he said. With the rhetoric nearing fever pitch, an advisor to Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica threatened to turn the dispute into a legal minefield, the Beta news agency reported.” Since this outgoing US administration has recognized the phoney state of Kosovo, Serbia’s charges will follow,” Branislav Ristivojevic told Beta.
Ristivojevic said “it would be best for the (present US) administration to annul the decision to recognise the phoney state, or for the new administration to do it immediately” after America’s November presidential elections. “If the US does not annul this decision, than we will file suits against America before all international courts,” Ristivojevic told Beta.
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 Kosovo Serbs rallied on Tuesday in a 10th consecutive day of protests in the ethnically-divided northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica. Hundreds of Serbs also clashed with police outside the US consulate in their Bosnian stronghold of Banja Luka. Six people including four policemen were injured with a teenager suffering serious head injuries, a hospital official said. Police detained 20 of the demonstrators including 15 minors, spokeswoman Bojana Gasovic said.
After a five-hour National Security Council meeting, Serbian officials insisted “all those taking part in (all) violence must be identified with necessary justice measures taken.” However, Tanjug news agency said the meeting “praised” the police and “the way they conducted their activities during all protests in Serbia.”
Serbia’s Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic will come face to face for the first time with Kosovo representation in round-table talks on Wednesday and Thursday in Bulgaria. Despite important energy deals with Russia, economic insecurity is beginning to bite, going by Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic comments Tuesday.
“At the moment, foreign investors do not consider Serbia as a heaven for financial investment,” Dinkic told reporters.
Quoted article can be found here.