By Fatmir Aliu
Serbia is provoking open conflict with Kosovo and the entire region of the Western Balkans may pay the price, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci warned on Wednesday, referring to Belgrade’s decision to extend its local elections to Kosovo.
Speaking to the cabinet on Wednesday, Thaci described the move by Serbia as renewed aggression against Kosovo.
“Serbia is provoking an open conflict with the state of Kosovo, which can have consequences for the entire region and for the international efforts in the region,” Thaci said.
“This is an attempt at aggression against the independent state of Kosovo,” he added.
Belgrade on Tuesday announced that it will hold its local elections on May 6, including within the territory of Kosovo, which it continues to see as its southern province.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and had been recognized by 88 countries, including the US, and 22 of the 27 member states of the EU.
The government in Pristina says Belgrade’s move represents a breach of Serbia’s own international resolutions.
“We will use all our constitutional and legal force to prevent such elections from being held on our territory… the only local elections that will be organized [here] are by the institutions of our country, not from any neighbouring country,” Thaci said.
Serbia’ vow to hold elections in the Republic of Kosovo was condemned by Albania as well.
Albania’s Foreign Ministry said the move was in complete contradiction to the spirit and content of the talks held so far between Kosovo and Serbia, brokered by the European Union.