Kosovo -Serbian presidents fail to defuse violent crises at Moldova summit


BURBOAKA, MOLDOVA(Reuters) The presidents of Serbia and Kosovo said they wanted to defuse the violent crisis in northern Kosovo, but showed little signs of backing down on their rival stances.

Serbia’s Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Vjosa Osmani, who arrived in Moldova for a summit with more than 40 European leaders, looked at each other despite standing just meters apart on the red carpet. 

Both countries are under international pressure to resolve the latest in a string of long-running crises between the Albanian-majority government of Kosovo and the ethnic Serb majority in the north.

Violence erupted on Monday after Kosovar authorities, with the support of special police, placed an Albanian mayor in the northern municipality’s office. The mayor was elected with a turnout of just 3.5%. Serbs boycotted local elections. Osmani said Belgrade was trying to destabilize Kosovo after failing to reach an agreement on Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008.

“We all understand that the real threat actually comes from Serbia’s denial of the existence of a sovereign state in Kosovo,” Osmani said.

She accused Vucic of supporting criminal gangs in northern Kosovo and blamed gangsters for the clashes that injured 30 NATO peacekeepers and 52 Serb protesters. claimed.

She said, “President Vucic should stop supporting Kosovar criminal gangs. He must do so if he really wants peace.” He hasn’t shown it yet,” she said.

Serbia denied the accusation. Reaching the top of a castle in the Moldovan countryside, Mr. Vucic’s rhetoric was less forceful than Mr. Osmani’s.

But he said the Kosovar authorities should withdraw “the alleged mayor” from the north, explaining that the Kosovar police special forces had been staying there illegally.

“Serbia will do everything in its power to defuse the situation, which means convincing the Serbs to move forward calmly and peacefully,” he said. “They are very determined,” he added. “They want to turn their backs on the special police force.”

Ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo have long called for the implementation of a 2013 European Union-brokered agreement to establish an alliance of autonomous communities on their territory.

Osmani and Vucic were scheduled to meet separately with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the sidelines of the European Political Community summit, which was formed last year by more than 40 countries.

However, there was no sign of Vucic and Osmani meeting. Vucic said he didn’t even know who would come to the summit from Kosovo. Kosovo’s Prime Minister Alvin Kurti was the driving force behind the operation in the north, which drew fierce international criticism, especially from Kosovo’s longtime and most loyal ally, the United States.

However, Osmani attended the summit on behalf of Kosovo.

In response to the crisis, NATO has decided to send an additional 700 peacekeepers to Kosovo, and alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said to send more soldiers.