European Western Balkans

Kurti agrees to hold new elections in the north after international pressure

Photo: Twitter / Josep Borrell

PRISTINA – Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti said he would call new elections in the north of Kosovo following a phone call with United States Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer on Thursday and after increased EU member states pressure.

However, Kurti said that the violence supported by Belgrade must be ended before elections can be called.

“Pleased to speak with POTUS Principal Deputy NSA Jon Finer. Thanked him for his call & committed to work with USA to de-escalate tensions. This requires an immediate end to violence by Belgrade-sponsored mobs against security officers until new elections in those municipalities,” he wrote on Twitter.

The President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, also confirmed that Kosovo is ready to organise new elections in the north. Osmani said that this request was made by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz. “I told him that we are ready to consider this possibility”, Osmani said.

According to EURACTIV, Kosovo and Serbia held talks on Thursday under European pressure to resolve a political crisis that has spiralled into violence over the past week, with France and Germany pressing them to take swift steps to reduce tensions.

Kosovo’s Vjosa Osmani and Serbia’s Aleksandar Vučić met briefly in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and the EU‘s chief diplomat Josep Borrell on the sidelines of the European Political Community summit in Moldova.

Earlier in the day, neither leader wanted to meet before relenting under international pressure.

Speaking after the talks in Chișinău, Macron and Scholz called for fresh elections in the four disputed northern Kosovo municipalities with Serb participation “as soon as possible”.

Macron said Osmani and Vučić agreed to consider a plan presented by France and Germany to appease tensions in Kosovo, which would include a commitment by Pristina to hold fresh elections in the contested areas and a commitment by Belgrade to encourage participation in those local elections.

Serbia had urged ethnic Serbs in Kosovo not to participate in the vote. He said they also urged Kosovo to commit to creating an association of Serb municipalities, seen as a way to give Serbs in the north more self-government.

The two leaders would be expected to hold consultations and respond to the proposal next week with “clear answers”.

“There have been in northern Kosovo tensions that were due to the regrettable holding of polls even though the conditions were not fulfilled to guarantee proper process – this led to an escalation of violence,” Macron told reporters in Chișinău.

“It’s a very serious situation (…), and we had an intense debate on the challenges on the ground. All stakeholders need to show courage,” Scholz told reporters in a separate press conference, appealing to both sides to show responsibility.

“It’s important that everyone involved does everything possible to get to a de-escalation,” he added.

The EU earlier said the rising tensions between Serbia and Kosovo threaten an EU-brokered deal on the normalisation of relations between the two Balkan countries.

EU High Representative Josep Borrell wrote on Twitter that the EU have 3 clear requests: new local elections, ensuring the participation of Kosovo Serbs and start the work to establish the Association of Serbian Majority Municipalities within EU-facilitated dialogue.

Related posts

Kocijančič: Protests – core democratic value


EU needs a convincing path for the Western Balkans’s accession, write BiEPAG experts


Is the EU preserving momentum having Albania and North Macedonia on hold until October?

Emina Muminović