Pristina Rejects Serbian PM Request to Visit Kosovo


Kosovo has rejected a request by Serbia's prime minister to visit a Serb-majority town in the breakaway territory, saying it would "interfere" with local polls next month, its deputy prime minister said Wednesday.

"We do not want officials from Belgrade to interfere with Kosovo's elections," Hajredin Kuci told Agence France Presse by phone.

Because Kosovo and Serbia have not had diplomatic relations since the majority-Albanian government in Pristina declared independence in 2008, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic had to request approval for the visit through the EU diplomatic missions in both capitals.

Dacic wanted to visit the southern town of Strpce the day after local election campaigning begins on Friday.

In April, Dacic and his Kosovan counterpart Hashim Thaci reached an agreement at the end of a series of EU-mediated talks on normalizing relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

In Belgrade, Dacic said he "has warned Brussels" of Pristina's decision which he described as "scandalous" and "a blow" to the normalization of ties between Serbia and Kosovo.

"If I cannot go to Kosovo and call on the Serbs to vote, then I wonder if it makes sense for us to continue the dialogue" with Pristina, Dacic said.

Local elections that will help set up an association of Serb municipalities with broad powers were called for November 3 as a part of the April agreement.

Belgrade has encouraged minority Serbs in Kosovo to take part in the elections, which could empower them in areas where they represent a majority of the population.

Serbia still refuses to recognize Kosovo's independence.

Comments 1
Default-user-icon Brian (Guest) 02 October 2013, 21:51

There are no powers in the serb municipalities that do not exist for the Albanian municipalities. In fact there is less because pristina appoints the serb police chief so the serb areas can't even appoint its own police chief or elect its own police chief. Belgrade wants to be in EU and the main request is good relations with Kosovo so it has appointed an ambassador dejan pavicevic so it has established diplomatic relations and it agreed to the Brussels deal which abolished all Belgrade role in Kosovo as well as all Serbian autonomy from pristina. The serbs also have to vote on ballots with "republic of Kosovo central elections commission" logo on them.