The US is concerned over Pristina’s moves: They are unnecessarily raising ethnic tensions, negatively affecting Serbs and other minorities

Ambasador SAD Džef Hovenijer Intervju

The US ambassador to Pristina, Jeffrey Hovenier, shared his concern and objections to a series of moves made by the Kosovo government over the past few days, which, according to the ambassador, have a direct and negative effect on members of the ethnic Serb and other minority communities in Kosovo.

In a statement issued last night, Hovenier underlined that he is deeply concerned about recent actions undertaken by Kosovo authorities that are “unnecessarily raising ethnic tensions and as a consequence limit the options of the United States to serve as an effective advocate for Kosovo in the international arena.”

They include operations carried out by the Kosovo Police at the direction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs over the past week at the offices of Serbia-administered institutions in Dragas, Pec, Istok, and Klina, as well as at the NGO Center For Peace and Tolerance in Pristina.

“We are also concerned by Kosovo Police actions today to seize Serbian Dinar and the vehicle transporting it to distribute social benefit payments from Serbia.”

He underlined that they expect the authorities of Kosovo to ensure that the individuals for whom these social benefit payments were intended receive them without delay.

Hovenier did not specify where exactly the money was seized.

On the other hand, official Belgrade announced yesterday that the employees of the Post of Serbia in Gorazdevac were detained today „in order to prevent the pay out of pensions to the locals“, while the media unofficially reported that the money that the employees were transporting was also seized at the time.

The US ambassador stressed that it is the Government of Kosovo’s responsibility to promote the vision “set forth at its founding and enshrined in its Declaration of Independence and Constitution”:

“One of a fully multiethnic democracy that is responsive to the concerns of all of its citizens.”

On the other hand, he added that the issues related to Serbia-supported structures in Kosovo should be dealt with through the EU-facilitated Dialogue.

“We likewise reiterate our request that Kosovo postpone enforcement of the Central Bank of Kosovo’s amended Regulation on Cash Operations until satisfactory procedures in line with European standards are in place and until the population has been sufficiently informed about how the transition of their benefits will proceed,” he concluded.

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