Tensions in the north of Kosovo / Kurti: Democracy cannot be held hostage

2023-05-30 19:32:36, Kosova & Bota CNA
Tensions in the north of Kosovo / Kurti: Democracy cannot be held hostage
Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, said on Tuesday that "democracy cannot be suspended, nor held hostage", while he expressed full institutional support for the new mayors of the northern municipalities.

Irrespective of the demands of the United States that the Government not insist that mayors work from municipal buildings and withdraw police officers from the three municipal buildings in the north, Kurti said that the mayors from the April 23 elections "are the only who have any legitimacy to be in municipal buildings, and at the service of citizens".

"In recent hours, our institutions have increased communication with international partners even more, because we have a common goal of calming the situation", said Kurti.

Referring to the violence of the protesters who attacked the KFOR soldiers in Zveçan, the prime minister said that "yesterday it was proved before our eyes that we also share threats and dangers".

"Yesterday it was finally proved to us and to all of us who we are facing: groups of the extreme right in masks, who vandalize, attack, burn everything that they do not consider Serbian, and who exalt nationalist and chauvinist symbols, such as the cross with four S and Z of Russian aggression in Ukraine", said the Prime Minister.

According to him, these people cannot be above the law.

"Such are the multi-millionaire criminals like Milan Radoj?i? and Zvonko Veselinovi?. They are big business and smuggling owners who condition their poor workers to violent protests. In fact, this is the way of their own bosses in Belgrade towards the public administration: the way of Aleksandar Vu?i?, Aleksandar Vulin and Ivica Da?i?", said the prime minister.

He underlined that the protests organized during the last two days were not peaceful; they were not for the municipality, but were protests "for power".

"In Kosovo, power can only be obtained through elections. Not with violence and crime", he said.

Since May 26, tensions have increased in the north of Kosovo, since on that same day, the new leaders of Zveçan, Leposaviç and Zubin Potok entered the municipal buildings under the escort of the Kosovo Police.

The head of diplomacy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, on May 30 asked Kosovo to suspend police operations around municipal buildings in the north, in order, according to him, to reduce tensions in this part.

Previously, the Government of Kosovo has defended its decision to take the new mayors to the municipal buildings, while for the violence in Zveçan it has blamed Belgrade for "leading the extremist crowd".

Kosovo's northern municipalities became tense after the mayors emerging from the April 23 emergency elections - all Albanians - were opposed by local Serbs.

On May 26, five policemen were injured during clashes with Serb protesters who threw stones at them. The police responded with stun grenades and tear gas.

While on Monday, May 29, at least 25 soldiers of the peacekeeping mission of NATO in Kosovo, KFOR, were injured as a result of clashes with Serbian citizens in the municipality of Zveçan in the north of Kosovo.

The previous heads of the four municipalities in the north, North Mitrovica, Zubin Potok, Zveçan and Leposavic, inhabited by a majority of Serbs, were from the Serbian List.

However, they resigned in November last year, as a sign of dissatisfaction with a decision of the Government of Kosovo to re-register cars with RKS - Republic of Kosovo license plates.

The elections of April 23 were boycotted by the Serbian List and by the Serbian majority population in the north, which now does not accept the results, namely the new presidents./ REL

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