US Special Representative for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar was received by Kosovo President Fyoza Osmani.
According to the written statement issued by the Presidency of the Republic, Osmani stated that during the meeting, he asked the United States to immediately remove barriers regarding developments in northern Kosovo, and to put an end to the threats and intimidation of the local population in Kosovo. Police, Election Commission officials and the European Union’s Rule of Law Mission (EOLEX) on his clear message yesterday to stop the attacks.
Noting in the statement that developments in the north of the country were discussed, Osmani emphasized the urgent need to remove “barriers placed in the north of the country by illegal structures run by (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vucic and the organizer as criminal gangs.”
Describing the attacks on Kosovo and international institutions as crimes whose perpetrators must urgently face justice, Osmani said Kosovo remains a constructive party to the dialogue process, and Serbia’s actions are an attempt to undermine the dialogue that envisages mutual recognition.
Also, during the meeting, President Osmani’s request to start a strategic dialogue between Kosovo and the United States of America in June 2022 was discussed, as well as how to increase relations and integrate Kosovo into Euro-Atlantic structures.
Escobar also met Prime Minister Albin Kurti as part of his contacts in the country.
In the statement made by the Prime Minister, it was reported that the visit of the US Undersecretary of State, Derek Chollet, who was expected to accompany Escobar, was canceled due to a positive Kovid-19 test.
Tensions between Kosovo and Serbia
During preparations for early local elections in 4 Serb-majority municipalities in northern Kosovo, a masked group attacked the offices of the Central Election Commission and Kosovo police officers last week.
Kosovar Serbs set up barricades in the north of the country on Saturday, December 10, after Kosovo police detained Dejan Pantik, a former Serbian police officer they considered a suspect in the attacks.
The EULEX patrol team was attacked with stun grenades near barricades set up by local Serbs in the Rudari district of Zvecan municipality in northern Kosovo. The European Union, NATO, the United States and the United Kingdom have called for a reduction in tensions in northern Kosovo.
In a statement following these events, the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, announced the postponement of early local elections, which were scheduled to take place in 4 municipalities in the north of the country, to April 2023 due to insecurity during voting.
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