Serb President Aleksandar Vučić said that unless the Kosovar government ceases what he called “persecution” of the Serb minority in Kosovo, the Kosovar Serbs working in its institutions will leave their jobs.
“Unless the persecution of Serbs is stopped, the politicians will leave all Kosovo institutions over the next month, and then judges and police officers will follow the suit by the end of September,” Serb President Vučić told journalists at a news conference called after he met with representatives of Serbs from the north of Kosovo.
The tensions between Kosovo and Serbia have heated up again in recent weeks. This time, the bone of contention were car licence plates. Kosovar authorities require local Serbs to switch their car number plates from Serbian to Kosovo ones. Most Kosovar Serbs have already changed the plates but in the north of Kosovo, where their concentration is the greatest, some continue to use Serb plates as a way of showing their loyalty to Belgrade and Serbia. Roadblocks were set up late last month to protest the measure. NATO peacekeepers oversaw their removal and increased their presence in northern Kosovo, another move that President Vučić criticised.
The presence of peacekeepers in NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) has been increased in northern Kosovo with the view to be able to react to security…
Talks sponsored by the European Union have failed to bridge the differences between the two communities. Vučić said that Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti had rejected all “compromise solutions” that he proposed, although Kurti, under US and EU pressure, eventually agreed to postpone the requirement to exchange the licence plates until September 1.
In 1999, NATO began a bombing campaign against Serbia and sent forces to Kosovo over fears that the province would see another genocide akin to the one Yugoslavia experienced in the early 1990s. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, although it enjoys only partial international recognition and Belgrade continues to maintain that Kosovo is a Serb province. Serbs make up 5 pct. of Kosovo’s population of 1.8 mln. the vast majority, 90 pct. are ethnic Albanian.