Europe puts pressure on, Kosovo says it's ready for re-election

Jun 02, 2023

Belgrade [Serbia], June 2: Kosovo's leader said he was ready to hold elections in areas with a majority Serb ethnicity, after recent tense clashes prompted the West to speak out.
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, European Union High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs JosepBorrell, Serbian President AleksandarVucic and Kosovo leader VjosaOsmani had a meeting on the sidelines of the European Political Community conference on June 1. Europe in Moldova.
There, the two leaders of France and Germany called on Kosovo to hold elections in four towns in the north, where Serbs are majority, according to Reuters.
About 90% of Kosovo's population is Albanian, but in the north, Serbs loyal to Serbia are the majority. Kosovo unilaterally declared its separation from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade does not recognize it.
Controversial mayoral elections in April sparked a reaction that led to recent protests and violent clashes . Serbs boycotted these elections, resulting in a voter turnout of less than 3.5% and making it easier for Albanian candidates to win the post of mayor.
President Macron said after the meeting on June 1: "We have asked both sides to hold new elections in these four municipalities as soon as possible, with a commitment from Kosovo on the participation of the Serbian side in the meetings. this election unambiguously". Kosovo was also called upon to fulfill its pledge to give greater autonomy to the Serbs in the north. Mr. Macron said Kosovo and Serbia had a week to respond to the European proposal.
MsOsmani accused the Serbian leader of "wailing and not telling the truth". However, she said Kosovo is ready to hold new elections in the north with the participation of Serbs if it is done through due process.
Ms. Osmani said she had told European leaders that the election would be completely valid if Belgrade's leaders had not called on the Serbs to boycott the vote.
According to Ms. Osmani, a solution to reduce tensions is very close, but Serbia must honor its commitments under the agreement in March to help bring relations between the two sides back to normal. "We have to make sure we enforce the whole deal, not just a few parts," she said.
President Vucic left the conference without commenting on the meeting with Ms. Osmani. Earlier, he called on the Kosovo government to withdraw its mayors from the north and declared the Kosovo special police units there to be illegal.
Source: ThanhNien Newspaper