Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti defended the measures taken by his government in municipalities in the north of the country, which led to clashes with the Serb minority.
Kurti said he told the British special envoy that his government’s only goal is to provide access to the offices of elected mayors, stressing that those elected in democratic elections have the right to assume office without threat or intimidation.
Kurti added that participation, not violent disruption, is the correct way to express political views in a democracy.
Calls to calm down
For his part, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg called on Kosovo – yesterday, Sunday – to calm tensions with Serbia, two days after violent clashes erupted between Kosovo police and opposition protesters, after officials of Albanian origin assumed the presidency of municipalities in areas inhabited by people of Serb origin. .
Stoltenberg said he had spoken with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell about Kosovo, adding that Pristina and Belgrade should engage in the EU-led dialogue.
NATO has also previously called for a de-escalation in Kosovo, and NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said via Twitter, “We urge the institutions in Kosovo to calm down immediately, and we call on all parties to resolve the situation through dialogue.”
The onset of stress
And the tension began in Kosovo when the authorities organized local elections in the north boycotted by the Serb minority in this region, allowing the Albanians to control the local councils. The Kosovo authorities approved the election results despite the very low turnout, and the Albanians assumed the presidency of the northern municipalities, which sparked the Serb minority that went out to demonstrate.
The Kosovo police accompanied the new mayors to enter their municipal buildings, and clashes occurred between the Serb demonstrators and the police forces, who used tear gas to disperse them.
Local media reported that the police used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the crowd, which resulted in the injury of about 10 people, until last Friday evening.
As a result, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic declared his country’s army on “high alert” and ordered the forces to advance towards the administrative border with Kosovo.
Kosovo, whose majority is Albanian, seceded from Serbia in 1999 and declared its independence from it in 2008, while Serbia still considers Kosovo part of its territory and supports the Serb minority there.