Analysts: Serbia institutions in Kosovo impede security

05/12/2012

The removal of Serbia's structures in northern Kosovo should be done with confidence-building measures for Kosovo Serbs, according to experts.

By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 05/12/12

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Analysts said the international community should encourage Serbia to stop financing its structures in northern Kosovo. [Laura Hasani/SETimes]

Ending Serbia's support for its structures in northern Kosovo is the main precondition to start improving the security situation in the country, according to Mentor Vrajolli, an analyst at the Kosovo Centre for Security Studies.

"This step should be followed with an internal dialogue between Kosovo institutions and the representatives of the Kosovo Serb community," Vrajolli told SETimes.

Belul Beqaj, Pristina University political science professor and political analyst, said Serbia and the EU must remove parallel structures, which are "a product of organised crime and anti-European policies more than a contribution to regional stability and functioning of the rule of law."

"They have criminal interests, supported by certain policies, that can use them as instruments," Beqaj told SETimes, adding that if Serbia does not disband its structures they will become a danger for Serbia itself.

The reaction of experts to the Serb institutions comes after a late November UN Security Council meeting at which Enver Hoxhaj, Kosovo foreign minister, warned that the parallel Serbian structures are "illegal … and a big threat to the stability, not only of Kosovo, but the region."

Serbia, however, has openly turned down any request or suggestion to disband its northern Kosovo structures.

Ivan Mrkic, Serbian foreign minister, told the UN Security Council that Serbia is open to discuss all issues with Pristina, "except for the abolition of Serbian institutions in Kosovo-Metohija."

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Ian Bancroft, founder of NGO TransConflict, told SETimes that Serbia has an important role to play in transforming these structures, but "the withdrawal of whatever Serbian security forces exist in the north, combined with a possible downsising of KFOR, would likely further contribute to a sense of insecurity amongst the northern Kosovo Serbs, who have little faith in Pristina's institutions."

"As such, the Kosovo government will need to show a considerable amount of restraint and work to put in-place the foundations for dialogue with representatives from the north,” Bancroft said.

Betim Musliu, of the Kosovo Law Institute, told SETimes that the parallel structures, financed and supported by Serbia are a threat to the sovereignty of the state of Kosovo.

"These structures should be removed because they are representing in continuity a threat to the safety of the juridical system of the state, violating its sovereignty," Musliu said. "They represent a clear intervention of Serbia."

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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