October 22, 2012
Violent clashes between opposition protesters and police broke out in Kosovo’s capital Pristina Monday after premier Hashim Thaçi held “historic” face-to-face talks in Brussels with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic.
by Vedat Xhymshiti on Monday, 22 October 2012 – Several demonstrators and policemen were injured in the protests organised by opposition political party Vetevendosje (Self-determination) which claims the direct talks with Belgrade undermine Kosovo’s independence, declared by majority Albanians in 2008.
However, hardliners in Kosovo have said that they have nothing to discuss with Serbia, which was bombed by NATO in 1999 to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanians by Serb forces under former President, Slobodan Milosevic, during a two-year counter-insurgency war.
In the clashes, protesters hurled stones, colour, tomatoes and flowers at police, who responded with teargas and pepper spray. Heavy police cordons are guarding Kosovo’s parliament and government buildings and Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti was briefly detained with several MPs but later released.
Dacic and Thaci met face to face in Brussels on Friday to restart talks under the auspices of the European Union, which has linked membership of the bloc to the “normalisation of relations” between Belgrade and Pristina.
The meeting was hosted by EU security and foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton who said it took place “in a constructive atmosphere”.
Kosovo has been recognised by 90 countries, including the United States and 22 out of 27 ЕU members, but Belgrade continues to oppose its secession.