Thaçi: Serbs in Northern Kosovo Are Being Armed

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi has accused Serbia of destabilizing Kosovo and the entire region. In an interview with Deutsche Welle the head of state declared that Belgrade is arming Serbians living in northern Kosovo.

Serbia is using the Russian model for Ukraine. It is sending civilians, but also people in uniform, to the north and is arming the Serbs with hand guns and other weaponry, in order to prepare them to defend themselves against allegedly Albanian attacks. I invite the Serbs to not fall prey to the nationalist politics of Belgrade, which has caused great damage to Serbs before. Instead of the Serbian calls for war, I call upon the Serbs for peace and dialogue. Instead of calls for ethnic and territorial separation, I call for integration into the NATO and EU.

Thaçi has asked EU Foreign Affairs Representative Federica Mogherini to exert strong pressure on Serbia not to threaten the integrity of Kosovo. He also spoke about the three most recent incidents: the erection of the wall in Mitrovica, the arrest of former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, and the nationalist train that Serbia tried to send to Mitrovica.

All these incidents are one of the other related to each other, and provoked directly by Belgrade. The wall is an issue of Kosovo and Kosovo needs to break this wall down. Such a wall does not dare to exist in Mitrovica and we won’t discuss this issue with Belgrade at all. As regards the train, it was clearly with the aim to provoke Kosovo and was inspired by the Russian model. But the determination of Kosovo made the train refrain from approaching the border of the Republic of Kosovo. If it had otherwise approached, I cannot say that an armed conflict wouldn’t have broken out. Kosovo has been ready to respond to this provocation like a state. We have information that there were armed and paramilitary people inside the train with the aim to enter Kosovo and destabilize the country.