Kosovo Serbs Form 'Illegal' Assemblies
Friday morning saw Obilic municipality formed in a Serb enclave 10 kilometres north of Pristina, while in the afternoon a session was held in Gracanica enclave, south of the city.
Belgrade authorities recently gave a deadline and instructions on how to constitute assemblies in Kosovo, after Serbian general elections held on May 11. They hope the United Nations mission in Kosovo will gradually start to cooperate with these municipalities, despite initial protests from the UN and Pristina’s ethnic Albanian leaders that such structures are illegal and undercut Kosovo's independence.
Because of the lack of space, some 30 assembly members held the first session of the parallel Pristina municipality in a nearby warehouse.
Members elected Radovan Nicic as the President of the municipality. According to the Serbian poll results, the majority in Pristina assembly belongs to the hardline nationalist Serbian Radical Party.
The oldest assembly member, Ljiljana Savic, who is according to municipality law due to preside over the first session, was absent. She told Balkan Insight that “not all legal conditions were fulfilled for the session to be held,” adding that she was rather it was postponed for a few days.
A Serb member of the municipality who wanted to remain stay anonymous said they could not elaborate on what the municipalities will work on, what responsibilities they will have as well as where the sessions will continue to be held.
According to that source, Serbia since 1999 has given significant funds for supporting local parallel structures in Serb enclaves, even though the territory has been administered by the UN.
Belgrade vehemently opposes Kosovo’s independence, and the scheduled transfer of authority from the UN mission there to a new European Union presence. In defiance of UN and local authority it continues to support, both politically and financially, parallel administrative and security structures in Serb-majority areas, prompting fears of partition in the new country.
Earlier Serbia's outgoing minister for Kosovo said a Serb assembly will be formed in the former province on June 28. Read more: http://balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/11002