Serb Politicians Flaunt Presence in Kosovo

Two Serbian ministers cut the ribbon in a post office in the Kosovo town of Gracanica on Monday, a move meant to showcase Belgrade’s hold on Serb areas of its former province.

Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo, Goran Bogdanovic, and minister for Local Government Milan Markovic, did not inform Kosovo’s Albanian authorities of the visit, but were escorted by policemen of the European Union law and justice mission EULEX.

Talking to journalists, Bogdanovic said he doesn’t need to ask for anyone’s permission because “Kosovo is part of Serbia”, and he can come and go as often as he wants.

“It is our obligation to take care of our own citizens because there are many dangerous criminals in here”, said Bogdanovic.

Serbia officially rejects Kosovo’s February secession and has vowed never to give up its claim on the territory. In practice it is working on a de facto partition, steadily extending a network of “parallel structures” that run schools, hospitals and civil services in Serb-majority areas, mainly north of the river Ibar, making redundant any contact with the authorities in Pristina.

The northern slice, which backs into central Serbia, has frustrated attempts by the EULEX supervisory mission to extend its mandate over the entire territory and also serves as a focal point for the 60,000 ethnic Serbs scattered in enclaves south of the Ibar, especially in Gracanica.

The Serb ministers said the new Post and Telecommunication building in Gracanica had cost over €90,000 euros and promised further investments. They distributed gifts to Serbian children in a Gracanica kindergarten, and returned to Serbia after a few hours.

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