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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
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 Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to 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 Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
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 US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
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 Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
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.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs