By Fatmir Aliu and Bojana Barlovac
Kosovo’s government has slated Serbia’s decision to include Kosovo in its forthcoming round of local elections as illegal and illegitimate.
The Kosovo government has condemned Belgrade’s controversial move to hold elections in its former province, saying any results will be treated as illegal and illegitimate.
The Pristina government reiterated that Kosovo is a sovereign state and that Serbia has no jurisdiction or rights over the country.
EU Opposes Elections in Kosovo
Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said in a statement on Tuesday that Serbia’s decision to include Kosovo is not in accordance with its international obligations and UN Resolution 1244.
After months of mulling whether to risk its future EU hopes, Serbia on Tuesday said it had decided to include Kosovo in the next round of local elections to be held on May 6.
According to the Kosovo government statement, the decision unmasked Serbia’s anti-European approach towards Kosovo and proves that Serbia continues to nourish the nationalist policies of the past century.
Kosovo has contacted the relevant international factors, to let them know that it deems such an attitude unacceptable.
Arber Vllahiu, spokesperson of the President of Kosovo, said holding Serbian elections in Kosovo would be illegal and unconstitutional.
“Serbia’s announced elections, to be held within the territory of the Republic of Kosovo, are in contradiction with all the international documents and resolutions,” he said.
“They represent a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Kosovo,” Vllahiu added.
The spokesman said Serbia had a duty to fulfil and respect all its international obligations and build good neighbourly relations with Kosovo, as two neighbouring countries that aspire to EU membership.
Meanwhile, France has already repeated its support for Kosovo’s sovereignty and urged Serbia to refrain from organising municipal elections in Kosovo.
“Such a decision would be contrary to resolution 1244/99… and the reality of an independent Kosovo since 2008,” Bernard Valero, of the French Foreign Ministry, said.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 but Serbia’s 2006 constitution states that Kosovo remains part of its territory.
UN Resolution 1244 authorised an international civil and military presence to assume control of Kosovo in 1999.
The resolution does not prejudice Serbia’s claim to the territory. Nor does it shed much light on whether Serbia has any right to hold local elections there.
Holding local elections in the north of Kosovo, where Serbs run four municipalities, is especially problematic, as they will be seen to reinforce Serbian-run, so-called “parallel institutions” already operating there.
These post offices, schools and municipal administrations ignore the Kosovo government and depend for support and money on Belgrade.
Abandoning parallel insititutions was a condition that Brussels put before Serbia, if the country wishes to get a start date for accession talks with the EU.