Free passage for KFOR, for EULEX with guarantees
26. October 2011. | 07:25 07:37
Source: Emg.rs, Tanjug, Radio Serbia, Beta
Presidents of four municipalities in northern Kosovo expressed readiness on Tuesday to enable the freedom of movement for KFOR, and to allow the same for EULEX provided they give guarantees to Belgrade that they will not transport Kosovo officials. KFOR spokesman Uwe Nowitzki said that the international peacekeeping mission in Kosovo would accept no conditions being placed on the freedom of movement.
Presidents of four municipalities in northern Kosovo expressed readiness on Tuesday to enable the freedom of movement for KFOR, and to allow the same for EULEX provided they give guarantees to Belgrade that they will not transport Kosovo officials.
The municipal presidents from northern Kosovo sent a letter to KFOR Commander Erhard Drews, informing him about their readiness to enable the freedom of movement to KFOR troops as quickly as possible.
"After the meeting with Serbian President Boris Tadic, the presidents of four municipalities in northern Kosovo are ready to enable as quickly as possible the freedom of movement aimed at normalizing the supply of KFOR troops," the letter that Tanjug had insight into reads.
The letter to Drews proposes that technical details be set at a Coordination meeting in Zvecan on October 26, or at a special meeting.
As for EULEX, the municipal presidents request guarantees that EULEX will not transport Kosovo customs officers and work on establishing customs at the Jarinje and Brnjak crossings.
The municipal presidents said that Tadic gave full support for peaceful protests and the fight for protection of legitimate interests, and also qualified as unacceptable the presence of Kosovo customs officers at the Jarinje and Brnjak crossings.
They stressed that there is unity among political representatives of the Serbs in the north of Kosovo.
At a joint press conference held in Zvecan, head of the Kosovska Mitrovica district Radenko Nedeljkovic said that municipal presidents received Tadic's full support for peaceful protests and the fight for protection of legitimate interests.
Nedeljkovic underlined that a number of dilemmas over the customs stamps were cleared during the meeting.
Belgrade accepted the appearance of the customs stamp, but not Kosovo customs officials at the Jarinje and Brnjak crossings.
“In line with President Tadic's recommendations, we sent a letter to KFOR Commander Erhard Drews Monday evening,“ he said.
Nedeljkovic said that the roadblocks will remain, and that the freedom of movement for KFOR troops implies solely the passage of convoys.
Commenting on the previous announcement that a joint session of municipal assemblies in the north of Kosovo would be held, President of the Zubin Potok municipality Slavisa Ristic explained that the goal was to inform the public about the conclusions of the meeting with Tadic, but instead they decided to hold a press conference.
Ristic underscored that Serbs in the north of Kosovo are ready to enable the freedom of movement for EULEX, even though the mission has ignored Belgrade's offers so far and failed to provide any guarantees or issue a statement that it will not transport Kosovo officials.
“That is the main reason why we believe that the requirements for EULEX's freedom of movement have not been met yet,” he noted.
Ristic emphasized that they requested from Serbia's top officials to secure the guarantees by EULEX that the mission will stop all activities aimed at setting up the Kosovo institutions in the north.
President of the Zvecan municipality Dragisa Milovic said that the main goal of the talks with Tadic was to have Serbia get guarantees from EULEX that the mission will not transport Kosovo customs officials or help establish Kosovo institutions in the north, since municipal presidents have not managed to obtain such assurances from EULEX Chief Xavier de Marnhac.
President of the Leposavic municipality Branko Ninic called on the citizens of all four municipalities to resume their peaceful struggle for their legitimate requests, preservation of their institutions.
He also underlined that there are no doubts about Serbs' unity.
President of the Kosovska Mitrovica municipality Krstimir Pantic did not attend the press conference, citing previous engagements, but chairman of the municipal assembly Aleksandar Babincev spoke on his behalf, voicing satisfaction over the fact that representatives of the Serbs living in the northern part of Kosovo will in the future take part in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.
Nowitzki: KFOR will not accept conditions on free movement
KFOR spokesman Uwe Nowitzki said on Oct. 25 that the international peacekeeping mission in Kosovo would accept no conditions being placed on the freedom of movement.
"The freedom of movement for all sides applies to international organizations, and Kosovo's citizens as well and this needs to be achieved. Freedom of movement for KFOR alone, for example, for supplies and such, but not for EULEX, is unacceptable," Nowitzki told Radio Free Europe.
The KFOR spokesman also said that mission commander Erhard Drews had made this very clear to Serb municipal leaders in northern Kosovo on Oct. 22.
Municipal leaders in northern Kosovo sent Drews a letter on Oct. 25 in which they offered KFOR unrestricted movement and unhindered troop supplies on condition that no Kosovo customs officials were taken to the Jarinje and Brnjak checkpoints.
Nowitzki also said that the road to the Brnjak checkpoint had opened for pedestrians and vehicles, after Serb voluntarily lifted their barricades at the village of Banjska, approximately 600 meters away from the checkpoint. Local Serbs are still maintaining barricades in the village of Jagnjenica and Zupce.
Stefanovic, Cooper discuss Jarinje and Brnjak
Head of the Belgrade negotiating team in the dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic and EU mediator to the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Robert Cooper talked Tuesday by video link about resolution of problems with the Jarinje and Brnjak administrative crossings.
“We have discussed the problems of Jarinje and Brnjak in detail. We made additional progress in seeing things the same way, and everything is moving in a positive direction,” Stefanovic told Tanjug.
It is possible to reach a sustainable and realistic solution, he said.
In the manner, the dialogue with Pristina will be likely to continue as soon as possible, Stefanovic said.
“The talk was substantial, detailed and positive. Of course, we have underlined that KFOR and EULEX have to restrain from any kind of violence and attempt of removal of roadblocks as well as remain status-neutral,” Stefanovic said.
Government sending a report on Belgrade-Pristina talks on Thursday
On Thursday, the Serbian government will send the Parliament a report on Belgrade-Pristina talks, on the basis of which the Parliament should discuss the situation in northern Kosmet, it was announced in the Parliament.
As the MP whip of the Serbian Radical Party Dragan Todorović announced after a meeting of MP whips, Parliament Vice-Speaker Gordana Čomić informed MP whips that the Serbian government had announced that it would send the report on Thursday.
All the opposition parties demand a debate on the situation in northern Kosmet, on which occasion two parliamentary meetings were held on Monday, at which meetings no agreement was reached on the date and method of discussion on that topic.