Most Serb members of the Kosovo Security Force who have requested the termination of their contract indicated „direct pressure by official Belgrade authorities“ as the motive, Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said at a press conference in Pristina. Haradinaj addressed the public following an emergency meeting of the Kosovo Security Council, which was held after eight Serb KSF members asked to be removed from their contracts. According to unofficial information, TV Most reported that 20 more Serbs have left the KSF. Kosovo institutions and Haradinaj have not yet confirmed or denied this information. Officials from Belgrade, who have warned Serbs against joining the KSF, did not react.
The Kosovo Prime Minister has also recalled earlier cases of the pressure been placed on Serb KSF members, adding that they were of a different nature – „during a trip to Serbia, detention and interrogation, death threats and threats to their families.“
The Belgrade-based tabloid papers, „Alo“, „Telegraf“ and „Informer“ also reported that another 20 Serbs have left KSF under the headlines:
He said that threats were made through „other mechanisms of parallel institutions“ – the term Kosovo officials use for institutions in the system of the Republic of Serbia operating in Kosovo.
“The media reported armed attacks and explosive devices that jeopardized the lives of Serb KSF members. This happened in the North, and also other threats were reported. In the end, this led to a number of Serbs terminating their contracts. Serbs from one region of Kosovo, not the north, in this case,“ he added.
Haradinaj also underlined that in this way, “someone is committing a crime against these young people and their families.”
Since the signing of the first Brussels Agreement a large number of former Serbian state employees have been integrated into Kosovo institutions.
The Serbian institutions have been dismantled such as MIA, civil protection, justice, municipalities (provisional municipal bodies were formed instead), and a few more Kosovo institutions started functioning in the North.
The Kosovo Police is the only Kosovo security institution visible in the north of Kosovo, with about 500 members from region „North“.
For the transformation of the KSF into the „Army of Kosovo“, it requires a two-thirds majority vote by the minority deputies in the assembly.
„This is in contrast with conventions, human rights and the safety of their lives. We (Kosovo) acted on time and took all measures both on the inside and the outside.“
When asked by journalists whether the attacks on Serb KFS members are connected with the announcement that Serbs do not agree to be part of the KSF in the future, after the transformation into the “Army of Kosovo”, Haradinaj replied that a few years ago the approach of Belgrade officials was that Kosovo Serbs should not participate in any Kosovo institutions.
„Today, Kosovo Serbs are equal citizens in Kosovo and participate in political, institutional, social life and the management of the country. This pressure is unreasonable, because time has passed, and these methods were used 10 years ago. We are surprised by this unfair approach,“ he added.
At the end of November last year, explosive devices were thrown at the houses of two Serbs in Zubin Potok who were the members of the KSF. At the end of February, Serbian members of the KSF in the same municipality received threatening messages. In April and May this year, Serbian authorities also detained Serbian KSF members while claiming to „have talks with them“. After the arrest, Pristina expressed „bitterness and deep concern“, and urged Belgrade to „abandon the politics of detaining and intimidating Kosovo Serbs“. At the end of May, a car was torched belonging to another Serb member of KSF.
Officials have already warned Serbs against joining the KSF. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic also called on Kosovo Serbs not to join the „Kosovo Army“ because „they want Serbs to fight each other“.
However, a somewhat different message from the municipality of Novo Brdo was released to the public as well.
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