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Escobar: Elections should be held in the north of Kosovo, Serbs should participate unconditionally
The American envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, once again called on Kosovo to withdraw special police units and mayors from their offices in the Serb-majority north, while Belgrade exerts its influence to remove the protesters. and to ensure the participation of Serbs in the new elections in the area, without conditions.
He made these comments in a meeting with journalists in Belgrade, where he was together with the European Union envoy for Kosovo-Serbia talks, Miroslav Lajcak, in the context of efforts to reduce tensions in the north of Kosovo.
The tensions followed the decision of the government in Pristina to send the Albanian mayors who emerged from the April 23 elections, which were boycotted by the Serbian parties, to municipal offices in the north.
"The mayors should not use the municipal buildings, the Kosovo police should withdraw from the area around them and the protesters should leave. Moreover, if there are new elections, and we hope there will be, we want Serbs to participate in them unconditionally. "Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he will use his influence to convince Serbs to participate in the elections," he said.
The two diplomats went to Belgrade after a visit to Pristina, in which they were unable to announce any progress on easing tensions in the north.
In a meeting with journalists on Tuesday in Pristina, Mr. Escobar severely criticized the government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti, with which, as he said, "the United States has some challenges".
He said on Wednesday that he hopes that the Kosovo government will understand that the goal is a stable result with benefits for both sides.
"I have to emphasize that it is not only about the European Union, but also the United Kingdom and the United States of America. As friends of Kosovo, we are urging them to cooperate, coordinate and align with our efforts for stability in the region. This partnership is open to Kosovo whenever it wants, but at the same time if they don't want it, it means they are taking unilateral actions and withdrawing from the transatlantic community".
Zoti Escobar mohoi të ketë caktuar ndonjë afat lidhur me kërkesat për uljen e tensioneve në veri, por sërish tha se të premten ai dhe zoti Lajçak do t’u raportojnë shefave të tyre për vizitën në të dyja vendet.
I dërguari amerikan tha se palët duhet të punojnë për zbatimin e marrëveshjes së arritur ne Bruksel dhe në Ohër për normalizimin e marrëdhënieve ndërmjet tyre, përfshirë edhe themelimin e Asociacionit të komunave me shumicë serbe.
“Thjeshtë po them një fakt, Asociacioni është një detyrim ligjor për qeverinë e Kosovës, është në marrëveshjen e Brukselit, është në përfundimet e Këshillit të Evropës, është në marrëveshjen e Ohrit. Prandaj nuk është një marrëveshje ndërmjet Kurtit dhe Serbisë, është një marrëveshje ndërmjet Kosovës dhe Serbisë. Kështu që nëse në një pikë Kosova dëshiron të ecë përpara me integrimin evropian, do të duhet ta themelojë Asociacionin. Pra do të ndodhë por çështja është se a do të ndodhë me këtë qeveri apo me një të ardhshme”, tha zoti Escobar.
I pyetur për ndikimin e mundshëm rus në zhvillimet aktuale në veri të Kosovës, zoti Escobar tha se Rusia përfiton nga përçarjet brenda Evropës dhe nuk është e interesuar të shohë zgjerimin e Bashkimit Evropian.
"What is happening in Kosovo now is a long-standing, unresolved problem between different groups. This was before the current crisis in Ukraine. The crisis in Ukraine makes the opportunity to resolve it more important. But it is not being driven entirely by Russia," said Mr. Escobar.
As Russian aggression in Ukraine continues, the European Union and the United States want to resolve the Kosovo-Serbia dispute, fearing further instability in Europe. VOA