April 9, 2012
Many Albanian families residing in the neighborhood of ‘Three Towers’ north of the divided city of Mitrovica, shifted to the south of the city. Masked Serb are patrolling in the town of Mitrovica, while a social organization in face book so known as “Duaje Tenden” (English: Love yours) called for a wide protests on Tuesday, at 3/pm, calling the ethnic Albanians to gather at the main bridge that divides the town in northern Kosovo, in north, dominated by Serbs and south, dominated by thenic Albanians.
Mitrovica, KOSOVO – by Vedat Xhymshiti
Monday, April 9, 2012 | The Independent NewsweeK
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has since been recognised by the US and 22 of the EU’s 27 member states. But the fate of the Serb-dominated pockets of northern Kosovo, whose residents effectively live as if still forming part of Serbia, remains a festering sore, while their resentment of the Pristina government continues to bubble.
Billboards praising Vladimir Putin feature his face under the strapline: “Our honorary citizen.” Graffiti condemning Eulex is daubed on walls and shutters. A sign by the main bridge warning against “malicious or provocative” behaviour has been torn down and vandalised.
Holding elections in the Serb-dominated northern areas is seen as especially problematic, as they will serve to reinforce Serbia’s so-called “parallel institutions” in the borderland region.
Abandoning these institutions is one of the conditions that Brussels has set for Serbia as it pursues EU accession. Tahiri accuses Belgrade, which was granted EU candidate status earlier this year, of “double standards” and argues the EU must exert more pressure.
“Serbia shows a European face to the EU, but in the region, especially vis-a-vis Kosovo, it continues to be anti-European,” she says. “Now that Serbia has gained candidate status, I strongly believe the EU has more leverage to ask Serbia to perform according to European values, which include good neighbourly relations and regional co-operation and stability.”
Pieter Feith, a Dutch diplomat who has spent several years in Kosovo as head of the International Civilian Office – the main international supervisory body for the fledgling state – told ‘Irish Times’ that he believes the situation in the north has the potential of becoming a frozen conflict.
“There are frozen conflicts elsewhere in the world, in the Caucasus and the Middle East, which have been tolerated for years or generations, but to have a frozen conflict in the heartland of Europe is highly dangerous and cannot be accepted,” he says. “One way or another this problem in the north of Kosovo needs to be addressed and solved.”
More than 80 countries, including the United States and 22 of the EU’s 27 members, have recognized the state, which is the last to emerge from the remains of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However Russia, Serbia’s old-time ally, has blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution on the country’s independence and emergence as a free state.
But Serbia maintains that Kosovo remains part of Serbia, which is why it says it has a right and duty to hold elections there. Abandoning Serbian-run “parallel institutions” in Kosovo is a condition that Brussels has set before Serbia, if the country wishes to get a start date for accession talks with the EU.