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.
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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs