Minister for Kosovo meets with local Serbs

Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanović was on Wednesday touring several villages in the province’s Kosovsko Pomoravlje district.

As he met with the local Serbs, he said that those of them who participated in the recently held Kosovo Albanian government-organized local elections, which Belgrade rejected, “did not lose faith in Belgrade for that reason”.

Bogdanović said that the government supports a decentralization in Kosovo, but only under clear conditions. He also rejected reports coming from Priština about the number of Serbs that voted, and denied that their participation meant they were “turning their backs on Belgrade”.

“If they had lost faith in us, then there would be a much higher turnout, instead of only five percent of Serbs participated in these elections. Unfortunately, that’s yet another manipulation by Albanians and a part of the international community, who are saying that over 20 percent of Serbs voted. That is absolutely not clear because all of us who live here in Kosovo know how many Serbs voted,” said the minister.

“There are 123,000 Serbs registered to vote, and how many have voted? Well, 7,000,” Bogdanović was also reported as saying.

He traveled to the village of Ranilug, near Kosovska Kamenica, to ceremonially open a kindergarten there build from the government funds.

According to the Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo’s supervised independence – which Belgrade rejected, and which was never confirmed by the UN – this village should be the seat of a new municipality.

Bogdanović reminded that Belgrade opposes the plan, drafted by former UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari, but said there was no opposition to the decentralization of the Serb areas.

“That’s something that the Serb community needs, but not in this way. Can anyone here tell me, does anyone know the boundaries of Ranilug, which villages they encompass, which jurisdictions, competencies it has? That’s the problem,” the minister told the local Serbs.

He also called on them not to allow divisions based on participation in the elections and announced new government investments in Kosovo.

During 2009, some RSD 50mn were spent from the government funds in this district, mostly on infrastructure projects.

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