ISSN 2330-717X

Kosovo Speaker: NATO Must Remove Barricades

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By Fatmir Aliu

The speaker of parliament, Jakup Krasniqi, says it’s not up to the Kosovo government to remove Serb barricades in the north as that is the responsibility of international peacekeepers.

A senior official in Kosovo says the government in Pristina expects NATO peacekeepers in KFOR to remove Serb roadblocks erected in the north several months ago.

The government should not intervene on its own to remove the barricades since “KFOR is there”, Jakup Krasniqi said.

“It is their responsibility and we have to wait until they do their duty. I do believe they [KFOR] will finish the job,” the Speaker of Parliament added.

Local Serbs put up the barricades in protest against the deployment of Kosovo Albanian customs and police officers on two northern border crossings with Serbia, at Jarinje and Brnjak.

Over the past few months Serbs have built about 16 barricades in four Serb-run municipalities of northern Kosovo. KFOR started removing a few barricades recently but most remain firmly in place.

The speaker said Kosovo was a new country, which had inherited an old ethnic conflict continued to manifest itself in the northern part of its territory.

“These inter-ethnic conflicts are not our fault, nor are they our responsibility. We do have the support of the international community about the north…but not for pressing and spectacular actions,” he said.

“I am convinced that the issue of the north will be solved to the benefit of all of Kosovo’s citizens, including the Kosovo Serb community,” Krasniqi continued.

Serbs in the north do not recognize Kosovo’s independence, proclaimed in 2008, and most seek fusion with Serbia. They have refused to removed the barricades and some say they will guard them with their own lives.

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The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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