Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti complained about the unfairness towards his state by the United States and the European Union, as well as the tolerance towards what he described as “the authoritarian regime of Serbia”.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Kurti said that his government has taken a different stance.
“We insist that good behavior towards an autocrat does not make them behave better. It’s the opposite,” he said.
The US envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar, and the EU envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue Miroslav Lajčák, “come to us with requests from the other side”, Kurti said.
Escobar and Lajčák conducted a joint visit to Pristina and Belgrade this week to help the parties find a solution to reduce tensions in northern Kosovo.
In Leposavić, Zvečan, and Zubin Potok – municipalities in northern Kosovo with a Serbian majority – the security situation has worsened since May 26th, when Albanian mayors officially took office despite resistance from local residents.
Local Serbs in these three municipalities have been organizing protests in front of municipal buildings since then.
Violence escalated on May 29th when local Serbs clashed with members of the NATO mission in Kosovo, KFOR, and dozens of people from both sides were injured.
The April 23rd elections, which brought these Albanian mayors to power, were boycotted by the Serbian community.
The US and the EU have presented three requests to Kosovo: calming the situation in the north, holding new elections in the four northern municipalities, and resuming the dialogue for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
Kurti insisted that the presence of special units of the Kosovo Police in the three municipalities in the north would not be reduced unless the “Serbian criminal gangs” either leave or are arrested. He said that there would be peace in Kosovo if there were “no orders for violence coming from Belgrade”.
According to him, Western powers should not “spoil” Belgrade, which he considers the main problem of violence in the Western Balkans.
Kurti complained that even for the April elections in the four municipalities in northern Kosovo with a Serbian majority, “international intermediaries, European intermediaries failed” to help Kosovo.
He said that they demanded electoral changes from Kosovo but did not pressure Serbs to participate in the elections.
The Kosovar Prime Minister said that now there is a need for international community assistance to promote political pluralism in the Serbian-populated north and to have “fair, democratic elections for new mayors”.
“We cannot have a process in which Serbian candidates boycott the elections a few days before their holding, because that’s what Belgrade orders,” he said.
Kosovo’s President Vjosa Osmani has also stated that new elections in the four northern municipalities can be held.
According to her, the declaration of new local elections can be made if 20% of the voters sign a petition with this request.