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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs