News / Europe

Kosovo PM Praises Vote Despite Violence

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, joined by his wife Lumnije casts his vote at a polling station in Pristina, Nov 3, 2013.
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, joined by his wife Lumnije casts his vote at a polling station in Pristina, Nov 3, 2013.
VOA News
Kosovo's prime minister has praised the local elections in northern Kosovo, which were marred by violence and low voter turnout.

Hashim Thaci said Sunday's voting in the Serb-majority areas was a historic step in efforts to integrate the north with the majority ethnic-Albanian country.

"This is the most important and historical step that Kosovo took since the declaration of independence, by creating a legal opportunity for integration and participation for all its citizens. More than 22 percent of citizens of that part [northern Kosovo] voted in a calm and democratic manner. The turnout would be much higher if isolated criminal groups didn't obstruct citizens, as a result several polling centers had to be closed earlier than scheduled."

European Union rule of law mission (EULEX) police officers arrive at a vandalized polling station in the northern, Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica, Kosovo, Nov. 3, 2013.European Union rule of law mission (EULEX) police officers arrive at a vandalized polling station in the northern, Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica, Kosovo, Nov. 3, 2013.
x
European Union rule of law mission (EULEX) police officers arrive at a vandalized polling station in the northern, Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica, Kosovo, Nov. 3, 2013.
European Union rule of law mission (EULEX) police officers arrive at a vandalized polling station in the northern, Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica, Kosovo, Nov. 3, 2013.
Voting on Sunday was halted after a group of masked men broke into several schools housing polling stations in the town of Mitrovica, forcing the pull out of election monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Serb nationalists had campaigned for a boycott, with some saying that voting would be an act of treason.

Many of the 40,000 ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo have refused to recognize the ethnic Albanian majority's 2008 secession from Serbia.

The government of neighboring Serbia had encouraged Kosovo's Serbs to vote in the election, marking a significant softening of its position toward the former Serbian territory, whose independence it still refuses to recognize.

Serbia agreed to support the Kosovo election in April as part of an EU-mediated deal between the two neighbors. The deal offered both sides the prospect of talks on joining the EU if the local vote went smoothly and drew a significant turnout of Serbs in northern Kosovo.

Both Serbia and Kosovo are seeking EU membership to boost their struggling economies.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a decade after it split from Serbia. The split triggered a bloody year-long conflict between Serbian and Albanian forces.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid