From: Exit Staff
Serbian PM Visits Kosovo Amid Tensions, Calls for Peace

The Prime Minister of designate of Serbia, Ana Brnabic said she wants to convey messages of peace, stability and tolerance during a visit to northern Kosovo, a region mainly populated by ethnic Serbs.

Her visit to Mitrovica comes amid ongoing tensions between the two countries, fuelled by Belgrade’s refusal to acknowledge Kosovo’s independence. Brnabic said that the authorities from Serbia, including President Aleksandar Vucic, will always be with the Serbian community in Kosovo.

“Even though I am staying in difficult circumstances in the north, I am very happy that after the last provocations on 31 July, we managed to maintain calm. Serbia’s interest is calm and stability. From here, I want to send the message of calm, stability and tolerance, also a message from President Aleksandar Vucic that we will always be with our people in Kosovo and Metohija”, she said.

She emphasized that now is the time to form the association of Serb municipalities with a Serbian majority in Kosovo and added that she would repeat this wherever she goes – from Mitrovica to Brussels and Beijing.

The association would provide the creation of structures governed by Belgrade, inside Kosovo, a sovereign country. Kosovo has flatly refused, stating that similar ideas like those in Bosnia and Herzegovina have failed.

Brnabic was received by representatives of the Serbian List – as well as by representatives of Serb institutions.

During the visit, there were also banners with supportive writings, which read: “As long as we have the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, and our Ana, we are not afraid of anything.”

She also made the Kosovo-Serbia agreement conditional on the establishment of the Association of Serbian Municipalities, stating there are no talks about a second agreement for normalization, if the Association is not formed.

Bërnabić stated that Kosovo should engage more in dialogue, as according to her, Serbia remains committed to such a thing.

“I don’t know how much is possible, I am optimistic by nature, but what is certainly the most important at this moment or for a long time, as I said, is the community of Serbian municipalities. The establishment of the community of Serbian municipalities is the basis of the Brussels agreement, of the first agreement on normalization, and until we have the association of Serbian municipalities, it is impossible to discuss the second agreement on normalization,” she said.

Brnabiç’s visit to the northern municipalities of Kosovo comes after Prishtina and Belgrade agreed on the abolition of entry-exit documents, which Serbia had been issuing to Kosovo citizens since 2011.

The matter of license plates, however, remains unresolved. Pristina has given a two-month deadline for all Kosovo citizens to have car number plates issued by Kosovo institutions.

This would impact some 50,000 ethnic Serbs in the north who have them issued by Serbia and refuse to change.