News / USA

US, EU Presses Kosovo to Integrate Ethnic Serb Population

Kosovo's PM Hashim Thaci (C) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and High Representative for EU Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton (R) attend a joint news conference in Pristina, Kosovo, October 31, 2012.
Kosovo's PM Hashim Thaci (C) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and High Representative for EU Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton (R) attend a joint news conference in Pristina, Kosovo, October 31, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
— U.S., European, and Kosovo officials are working to better integrate ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo, an area where the Serbian government operates separate security and judicial systems.  Improving conditions for ethnic Serbs is central to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's ongoing dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

"It is about normalizing life so that the people who live in the north can go about their daily lives feeling part of a community, feeling part in their lives of a society," Ashton said on Wednesday during a trip to Pristina, where she and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks with  Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

Clinton said the United States is working closely with the European Union to address the concerns of Kosovar Serbs through this political dialogue.

"The United States urges all parties to continue to work to implement the agreements reached to date, to reach agreements in new areas, and to advance concrete measures to normalize relations," Clinton said. "Normalization of relations is key to future progress for both Serbia and Kosovo."

Belgrade has refused to recognize Kosovo since its unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008.  The United States and most European powers backed the move by ethnic Albanians and have worked to resolve the status of Serbs in northern areas of Kosovo, where Belgrade operates a parallel network of hospitals, schools, and courts for about 60,000 ethnic Serbs.

Prime Minister Thaci says there has been extraordinary success in integrating Serbs in the south, but clear challenges remain in the north.  Following talks with Ashton and Clinton, he spoke through an interpreter.

"I am the prime minister of all citizens, both citizens in the north and the south, and I guarantee that I will serve all," Thaci said.

The EU dialogue does not require Serbian recognition of Kosovo, and Clinton says the Obama administration understands the political and constitutional difficulties of doing so.  But she made clear there is no questioning Kosovo's "clear and set" boundaries.

"The United States is firmly committed to Kosovo’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to seeing the rule of law extended throughout Kosovo," Clinton said. "We oppose any discussion of territorial changes or reopening Kosovo’s independent status.  These matters are not up for discussion."

Kosovo and Serbia each aspire to membership in the European Union, and resolving the issues of Serbs in northern Kosovo is part of the process.  Prime Minister Thaci made that goal clear, in remarks translated by an interpreter.

"Today Kosovo is still not the Kosovo of our dreams," he said. "But we are persistently working for a European Kosovo.  For a Euro-Atlantic Kosovo.  We are conscious that we need to do more in terms of rule of law, combating corruption and organized crime and powerfully including minority communities in the public and institutional life of Kosovo."

Ashton said there are many things that need to be done to qualify for membership in the European Union.

"But they are worth doing because at the end of it you will have a country that is stronger economically, stronger politically, where the rule of law is observed correctly, where human rights are fully respected," she said.

For her part, Clinton siad the United States supports the aspirations of Kosovo and its neighbors to become fully integrated into the European Union because that offers the surest path to long-term stability, prosperity and peace for people throughout the Balkans.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bashkimi from: london
November 04, 2012 4:52 PM
You Serbs dont need more land,you have enough of it.
Your population is decreasing by 37000 people a year.
Very soon you will be 50% over 60 years of age,and 100 years after you will be only 1-1.5 million,and next 200 years only 60-150 thousends. and next 300-500 years no Serbs left on the face of the earth. I hope greeks leave long before you.


by: Bob from: NY
October 31, 2012 4:37 PM
Serbs in the northern Kosovo do not want to be under any authority from Pristina just as Kosovo Albanians do not want to be under any authority from Belgrade. When you speak of Albanian right to self-determination then the same principle should be applied to Serbs. Or... you will have a perpetual conflict lingering for years to come.

In Response

by: Davor from: New York
November 01, 2012 9:18 AM
If Serbs in northern Kosova can leave Kosova, then Albanians in Presevo Valley should be allowed to leave Serbia. And the Bosniaks of Sandjak, the Hungarians of Backa, the Croatians of Srijem and the Romanians of Banat should also be allowed to leave Serbia. You can't have it both ways.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid