Tensions in Kosovo on the rise, Mogherini calls for continued normalisation

Hashim Thaçi, Federica Mogherini and Aleksandar Vučić; Photo: European Commission

BELGRADE/PRISTINA – A day before the deadline for drafting the Statute of Community of Serb Municipalities, tensions in the Serb-majority northern part of Kosovo, as well as between Belgrade and Pristina, are rising again. Meetings of both Kosovo’s and Serbia’s National Security Council took place or are planned; President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić urged Serbs from the north of Kosovo not to react to „provocations“; and the Office of the High Representative has called for avoiding any tensions that could hinder normalization process, reports N1.

On Friday, 3 August, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić called for a National Security Council meeting for Saturday, the day on which the four-month deadline for Pristina’s Management Team to draft the Statute of Community of Serb Municipalities expires. The establishment of the Community was agreed by Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels Agreements form 2013 and 2015.

However, in an open letter to Kosovo Serbs, President Vučić stated that Pristina will not meet the agreed deadline and establish the Community, reports KoSSev.

Vučić also urged Serbs “not to fall for any provocation, to remain calm, civilised and dignified, while we will commit ourselves to secure your safety and future by political means”.

President of Serbia justified the Saturday’s meeting of the National Security Council by the information that “in the next 48 hours, there could be a desetabilisation of the security situation in the northern part of Kosovo and Metohija”, writes KoSSev.

Meanwhile, units of KFOR, a NATO military mission in Kosovo, were seen on Thursday on the roads across the territory. According to an official statement, it is a “planned exercise” in accordance with Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council, reports KoSSev. President Vučić also used his open letter to demand that KFOR and NATO maintain peace in Kosovo.

Kosovo Security Council already met on Friday, allegedly because of the information that Kosovo Serbs will announce autonomy in the lack of the Statute of CSM.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said after the meeting that the institutions of Kosovo are ready to answer to every provocation, but that there is no concrete information on that subject. He also announced that the working group for the Statute will be able to submit its report on Saturday, writes N1.

Office of High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini reacted to the developments, saying that the drafting process is still ongoing, and that both sides have agreed on clear guidelines and deadlines.

The report of the Management Team for drafting the statute will be included in the next Brussels meeting between Belgrade and Pristina representatives, the Office reminded.

“As both sides, along with the High Representative, are completely dedicated to defining the legally-binding agreement on normalisation of relations, the EU expects – as the two Presidents have agreed at the July 18 meeting in Brussels – that all tensions on the field which could endanger the normalisation will be avoided,” concluded High Representative’s Office, reports N1.