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Who benefits from the unrest in Kosovo?
After the tensions in the north in recent days, the international community calls for the mitigation of the situation, but the tone between Kosovo and Serbia remains irreconcilable. What will be done next?
A KFOR helicopter hovers over northern Kosovo. NATO troops have been reinforced in the north after the unrest last Monday with 700 extra soldiers. With barbed wire fences and roadblocks, KFOR forces have almost hermetically sealed off several buildings in the northern municipalities.
The violence broke out after three Albanian mayors of municipalities inhabited by Serbs, elected with a very small number of votes after the Serb boycott of the elections, tried to take office. One of these mayors is Izmir Zeqiri. After Monday, he did not return to the municipality. "Although I have the powers given to me by the constitution, we do not want to turn into a factor that produces violence, on the contrary - our goal is peace, development and the creation of a space in which every citizen is proud."
The US is not enthusiastic" about Kosovo
But in principle, the 58-year-old considers it right that the government of Pristina insisted that he start working as mayor. The responsibility for this situation, Izmir Zeqiri goes only to Serbia. "The problems with which we are confronted now are not new, and I believe that these problems have been fed by Serbian propaganda, I am sure that they have also been noticed by our international friends."
But the allies put part of the responsibility for the outbreak of violence on Pristina, as the US and the EU had previously asked Pristina not to force the mayors of municipalities into their offices. In response, the US excluded Kosovo from a military exercise. The American Ambassador, Jeffrey Hovenier in Pristina said that "I would say that the United States is currently not very enthusiastic when it comes to engaging in other interests of Kosovo, such as working with other countries that have not recognized Kosovo or the active support of the European and Euro-Atlantic development of Kosovo."
For the Southeast European researcher, Florian Bieber from the University of Graz, the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, benefits the most from all this escalation. "Serbia comes out of this well, and it's positive for Russia. Russia likes turmoil in the Balkans." Not because it brings anything to Russia, but it is a maneuver to attract attention. It helps Russia portray the West as weak and maintains relations with Serbia. "At the same time, Vuçiqi has not broken relations with the West and thus he has kept all doors open, as he has been doing for a decade."
According to Bieber direct addresses of blame are not well weighted. The violence did not ultimately come from the Kosovo security authorities. "We must carefully look for who is responsible for this violence. There are strong reasons to believe that the responsibility lies with Belgrade."/ DW