Serbia Rejects Strategy for North Kosovo

The Serbian government and its Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija have rejected the so-called strategy for north Kosovo, claiming it is invalid.

The strategy was introduced in mid-January by the International Civilian Office, ICO, in Pristina, and the Kosovo government, and it drew strong opposition from Kosovo Serbs.

The Ministry’s State Secretary, Oliver Ivanovic, said that the document had no links to the EU as the ICO chief, Peter Feith, did not inform the EU about the document.

“The sole link between the EU and this document is that there are actually two functions hiding in (Pieter) Feith’s person – Feith is envoy of the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Policy and Security (in Kosovo), and on the other hand he is chief of the International Civilian Office, ICO, in Pristina, which is supposed to carry out Martti Ahtisaari’s rejected plan,” he stressed.

According to Pristina daily Koha Ditore, the document includes 26 recommendations, although there are signs that there have been some delays in the implementation of the recommendations.

The ICO’s strategy recommends that Kosovo’s government create a working group for the north in order to increase its role and involvement.

The EU rule-of-law mission, EULEX, should, according to the document, continue to improve the functioning of courts in north Mitrovica. Belgrade has recently appointed judges to the court, sparking a rebuke from EULEX and embassies in Pristina.

Ivanovic stressed that Feith had created the plan based on agreements with the Kosovo Albanians in order to allow them to infiltrate the north of Kosovo and establish full control in the area.

“That would be fatal for the remaining Serbs in the north. I cannot say that it is much easier for those who live south of Ibar River, but strong Serbian institutions that haven’t ceased working have existed in the north since 1999,” Ivanovic stressed.

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