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CrisisWatch Database

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132 results found
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Kosovo

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged

Parliamentary elections held 8 June with 43% turnout: ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) narrowly defeated opposition Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). Opposition parties LDK, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and PDK splinter group 10 June agreed to form coalition with PDK. EU 12 June extended 2,000-strong rule of law and justice mission until June 2016, said mission will now start “phasing out executive functions in justice sector”. Mitrovica Serbs 18 June dismantled barricade that had been blocking main bridge for 3 years, 20 June re-blocked bridge; police in Mitrovica 22 June clashed with Kosovo Albanian protesters.

Kosovo

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Main parties 7 May agreed to dissolve parliament and hold snap elections 8 June following failure to agree on creation of national army; Serb parties refused to support move unless guaranteed reserved seats in parliament for another 4 years. Montenegrin officials warned would seek international arbitration in Kosovo border dispute if no agreement reached soon.

Kosovo

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

3 ethnic Serb police attacked in northern municipality Zubin Potok 1 April. Following arrest of Kosovo Serb early month for 2011 killing of ethnic Albanian police officer in 2011, 4 Serb municipalities in north 16 April announced they would cease cooperation with EULEX. Parliament approved international court to address alleged crimes committed by ethnic Albanian guerrillas during 1998-99 war with Serbia.

Kosovo

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Govt announced plan to transform Kosovo Security Force into Kosovo Armed Forces by 2019; Belgrade said plan violates April 2013 normalisation agreement, cited guarantees forces will never enter Serb-majority north of Kosovo. Kosovo Serbs 16 March cast votes in Serbian election in polls organised by OSCE. Russian embassy in Belgrade said Moscow’s policy of non-recognition of Kosovo unchanged notwithstanding developments in Crimea.

Kosovo

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

In 23 Feb re-run of local election in Mitrovica North, Goran Rakic, candidate from Belgrade-backed “Srpska” list, won with 52.6% of vote. Pristina and Belgrade in disagreement over whether voting in Serbia’s March parliamentary elections can also be held in Serb areas of Kosovo. UNSG Ban in report to UNSC praised progress by Kosovo and Serbia on normalisation of relations.

Kosovo

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Newly-elected mayor of Mitrovica refused to take office 13 Jan, calling Nov local elections “major scam by international community”; new polls set for 23 Feb. Member of Mitrovica municipal assembly shot dead by unknown assailant in N Mitrovica 16 Jan.

Kosovo

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Run-off elections for 25 of 38 municipalities 1 Dec; no incidents reported, amid heavy security in North Mitrovica; some irregularities. Democratic Party of Kosovo won total of 10 municipalities in elections; Democratic League of Kosovo 9; Belgrade-backed “Srpska” 8. During 19th round of EU-mediated talks, Serbian and Kosovo PMs 5 Dec agreed that a Serb will command regional police in Serb-majority northern Kosovo.

Kosovo

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Local elections held across Kosovo 3 Nov, including first local polls to be held under Kosovo jurisdiction in country’s 4 mainly-Serb northern municipalities. Polls marked by widespread fraud. Turnout among Kosovo Serbs low despite encouragement to vote from Belgrade, amid deeply flawed electoral preparations in north. Serb hardliners threatened Serbs who turned out to vote, attacked 3 polling stations, prompting OSCE staff to withdraw from N Kosovo; violence prompted widespread condemnation, plus criticism of police handling of security. Despite irregularities Central Election Commission (CEC) only ordered re-run of vote in 3 assaulted polling stations in North Mitrovica. Amid heavy security no incidents reported at re-run on 17 Nov, but turnout still low at 22% despite intensified pressure from Belgrade to vote; prosecutors subsequently opened investigation into whether Belgrade-backed Srpska list coerced people into voting. CEC also ordered re-vote in Zvečan after losing candidate presented evidence of fraud. 10 out of 35 municipalities saw outright winner in first round vote; run-off vote for others scheduled for 1 Dec. Belgrade-backed list “Srpska” won vote in 3 Serb municipalities, North Mitrovica headed for run-off.

Kosovo

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Scattered violence marred preparations for first local elections to be held under Kosovo jurisdiction in Serb-held northern municipalities 3 Nov, fuelled fears for violence on election day. 3 explosions targeted local politicians 14-19 Oct. Belgrade and Pristina traded accusations of fraud related to voter registration process. UNDP survey early Oct found almost half Serbs in N Kosovo do not plan to vote, only half of voters aware of who was running for mayor. Most of region’s established politicians supporting boycott campaign. EU Progress Report said Kosovo must strengthen anti-corruption efforts; Kosovo began talks on Stabilisation and Association Agreement 28 Oct.

Kosovo

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Belgrade and Pristina pushing ahead with plans for Kosovo-wide municipal elections 3 Nov. Serbian officials registered state-backed slate of candidates for first local elections to be held under Kosovo law in the four northern municipalities Serbia has controlled since 1999 (Leposavić, North Mitrovica, Zubin Potok and Zvečan). Central Electoral Committee 2 Sept agreed to print ballot papers without Republic of Kosovo symbols. As part of EU-mediated April deal normalising Kosovo-Serbia relations, Serbian govt 10 Sept dismissed mayors and dissolved assemblies of the 4 northern municipalities, naming interim govts headed by its chosen candidates for Nov polls – completing Serbia’s administrative withdrawal from Kosovo and in effect representing Serbia’s acquiescence to implementing non-status components of 2006 Ahtisaari Plan. Northern Kosovo Serbs continue to reject submission to Pristina’s authority and urge boycott of elections. One or more unknown gunmen opened fire on EULEX convoy 19 September, killing Lithuanian policeman en route to northern border post at Jarinje; risk of further violence in run-up to polls. Belgrade also formed team for establishing Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo, also part of April deal.

Kosovo

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Ahead of local elections scheduled for 3 Nov, first in Serb-held northern Kosovo since independence, Serb parties yet to register with Kosovo Election Commission ahead of 3 Sept deadline for candidate and party list registration. Belgrade reportedly pushing idea of joint, Belgrade-backed list; northern opposition to participating still firm. Kosovo and Serbia PMs discussed ballots during talks in Brussels 27 Aug. Kosovo Deputy PM Tahiri said all “parallel security structures” in northern Kosovo should go by late Sept.

Kosovo

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Northern Kosovo Serbs 4 July formed “Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija”, ad hoc representative body comprising local elected officials from northern municipalities. Belgrade exerting strong pressure on northerners to avoid provocations before start of Serbia’s EU accession talks: 19 July called on Kosovo Serbs to vote in Nov local elections. Northern leaders still mulling options, including boycott, mass turnout followed by mass refusal of elected officials to interact with Pristina. Under strong U.S. and EU pressure Kosovo Assembly 11 July passed controversial amnesty law, needed to allow northern Serbs to participate in Kosovo political life without fear of prosecution for political crimes; first (rejected) draft had also covered range of serious crimes.

Kosovo

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Kosovo PM Thaçi and Serbia PM Dačić 21 June agreed on steps towards normalising relations and implementing 19 April EU-brokered agreement: Kosovo to hold local elections throughout territory and for 1st time in North 3 Nov; Serbian courts in North to close Sept; Serbian police premises closed, consensus candidate identified as regional police commander. Following agreement, EU Council 28 June agreed to launch talks on Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo and open accession talks with Serbia. Local Serb leaders considering options against agreement. Kosovo and Serbia appointed liaison officers 17 June to help monitor implementation of April agreement.

Kosovo

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Kosovo PM Thaçi and Serbian PM Dačić 24 May agreed on implementation plan for EU-brokered 19 April normalisation deal, covering 6 policy areas including legislative change, Association-Community formation, police, courts, elections. Serb leaders in north early month reiterated rejection of 19 April deal, wrote to Russia seeking help against “unilateral action” of U.S., EU and Pristina. Serbian deputy PM Vučić and Kosovo Serb leaders 12 May reached agreement on implementation of April deal, including Serbian support for northern Kosovo. Pristina police 5 May arrested alleged regional organised crime figure Naser Kelmendi. EULEX 23 May arrested 7 former KLA members on war crimes charges from 1998-99.

Kosovo

  |  1 May 2013

Improved

Kosovo and Serbia reached breakthrough deal at 10th session of EU-mediated dialogue in Brussels 19 April: agreement recognises authority of Pristina over whole territory of Kosovo and grants local autonomy based on provisions of Ahtisaari Plan. Also creates new post of police commander for northern Kosovo, to be Serb appointed by Pristina on nomination of local authorities, and chamber of Court of Appeal in North Mitrovica with majority of Serb judges. Northern Serbs rejected deal, considering their options. Despite protests against deal in Pristina and Belgrade and northern Mitrovica, Kosovo Parliament 21 April voted 89-5 in favour of deal, Serbia’s govt approved it 22 April, Serbian parliament 26 April. Followed 8th and 9th round of dialogue earlier in month at which Belgrade rejected terms which it claimed did not provide basic rights, security for Serbs.

Kosovo

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

4 March 6th round of talks between Kosovo and Serbian PMs focusing on future of Serbian-financed parallel institutions in N Kosovo began in Brussels 4 March, no agreement reached. Following 7th round of talks 20 March, EU foreign policy chief Ashton said sides “very close to solution to some specific issues such as northern Kosovo”, hopeful that they will finalise deal at meeting scheduled 2 April. EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle told Kosovo leaders to strengthen fight against corruption, in addition to normalizing relations with Serbia, in order to achieve Stabilisation and Association Agreement by June.

Kosovo

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

Kosovo and Serbian PMs met for 5th round of dialogue in Brussels 19-20 Feb; spoke about institutions in north Kosovo, agreed to meet again 4 March. Presidents of Kosovo and Serbia 6 Feb met for first time since Kosovo declared independence. Series of bombings in N Mitrovica, many targeting homes/property of people linked with Kosovo govt office, but also including 2 Serb children injured 4 Feb; large explosion 25 Feb demolished apartment. Local Serbs renewed roadblocks on Pristina-Belgrade highway. European Commission 12 Feb issued first report on Kosovo’s progress on requirements of visa liberalisation roadmap, citing limited capacity to fight organised crime and calling for several new laws. Serbian monastery Visoki Dečani surrounded by KFOR troops 8 Feb to protect it from demonstrators. Kosovo-Serbia agreement on liaison officers to work in EU delegation premises in Belgrade and Pristina delayed by disagreement over diplomatic immunity.

Kosovo

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

Kosovo and Serbia PMs met in 4th round of EU-mediated talks in Brussels 17 Jan, agreed on compromise solution for customs duties, VAT for Serb-run north of Kosovo. PM Thaçi late month announced special fund to be set up in state budget for Serb-run north, to be financed from customs/taxes collected at border with Serbia; Serbia condemned proposal. Dozens of Serb graves attacked in Klokot and Prizren 20-21 Jan, in apparent retaliation for Belgrade’s removal of monument to Albanian fighters in Preševo (see Serbia). 3 official vehicles found burnt out in Pristina 18 Jan; 2 blasts reported in north 17 Jan.

Kosovo

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

PM Thaçi and Serbian PM Dačić met for 3rd time in Brussels 4 Dec, agreed to implement controversial Integrated Border Management agreement, under which border and trade officials from both sides to work in coordination. Implementation started 10 Dec at 2 crossing points. Belgrade rejected Pristina’s claims that it would shortly be appointing diplomats, reiterated officials would be “liaison officers”. Pristina-Belgrade dialogue scheduled to continue 17 Jan. Serbian govt officials 17 Dec circulated long-awaited govt platform for negotiations, treating Kosovo as autonomous province, calling for Autonomous Community of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo; Thaçi dismissed plans. EU Council 12 Dec declined to give mandate for start of negotiations for Stabilisation and Association Agreement for Kosovo, called for progress on rule of law, public administration, minority protection, cooperation with EULEX and other areas. Public anger, protests after Supreme Court panel of majority EULEX judges late Nov ruled retrial of Klecka case involving PDK party VP Fatmir Limaj and several other former KLA fighters, ordered detention of Limaj.

Kosovo

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

EU 7 Nov hosted 2nd high-level meeting between Kosovo PM Thaçi and Serbia PM Dačić, following visits to Pristina and Belgrade by U.S. Sec State Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Ashton pushing dialogue. Working groups met, implementation of key “integrated management of crossing points” agreement expected to begin early Dec. Shootings and explosions marred attempts to begin construction of new houses in mixed Mitrovica neighbourhood; UNMIK officials warned construction unauthorised; Serbs attacked Albanian construction workers, at least 8 Serb members of Kosovo Police (KP) refused orders to protect them. Serbian special police 31 Oct arrested Slavoljub Jović aka “Pagi” in Mitrovica, took him across border into Serbia to face trial on charges of firing at KFOR troops in June. Former PM Haradinaj and 2 other ex-KLA commanders acquitted during their retrial at ICTY in The Hague; ruling condemned by Serbs, received with euphoria in Pristina. Tapes of EULEX interceptions of phone conversations by PM Thaçi and other senior officials leaked 29 Nov, condemned as fakes by govt but said to be part of ongoing investigation by EULEX.

Kosovo

  |  1 Nov 2012

Unchanged

PM Thaci and Serbian PM Dačić met in Brussels 19 Oct: discussed continuation of EU-mediated dialogue on normalisation of relations. Dačić told Serbian media no change on Serbia’s position of never recognising independence, but said “time for a historic agreement”, Serbia “ready for final status talks”. Followed 10 Oct resumption of technical dialogue, including implementation of Dec 2011 border management agreement; working groups negotiated implementation action plan 12 Oct. Self-Determination movement protesters opposed to talks clashed with police 22 Oct. EC adopted Feasibility Study for Kosovo, confirmed country largely ready to open negotiations on Stabilisation and Association Agreement. Sporadic violence continued in north; 4 arrested following 7 Oct attack on border checkpoint by terrorist “Movement for Freedom”.

Kosovo

  |  1 Oct 2012

Unchanged

International Steering Group 10 Sept ended international supervision of Kosovo independence, ending mandate of International Civilian Representative (ICR) Peter Feith and closing his office; EU rule of law (EULEX) mission extended to June 2014. Some incidents in Serb enclaves; masked gunmen 7 Sept opened fire on EULEX-Kosovo police convoy in Zubin Potok municipality, injuring 1 police officer. Kosovo law enforcement and EULEX made several high profile arrests for extortion and corruption including Pristina Municipal Council chair 12 Sept. PM Thaci 24 Sept confirmed readiness to engage in high level dialogue with Serbia to EU foreign policy chief Ashton.

Kosovo

  |  1 Sep 2012

Unchanged

Opposition Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) 29 Aug announced it would no longer participate in parliamentary commission on electoral, constitutional reform due to failure of Democratic Party to respect 30 April elections agreement. Kosovo Deputy PM Tahiri 12 Aug demanded Serbia implement principles agreed at March 2011 commencement of dialogue, called on EU to break deadlock. Head of UNMIK Zarif 21 Aug requested UNSC support for renewed Serbia, Kosovo talks. Govt 1 Aug announced EULEX mission to end June 2014, transitional period to commence Sept; parliament 31 Aug passed constitutional amendments regarding transition. In N Kosovo, Serbs 23 Aug prevented EULEX from passing barricade at Zupče; EULEX temporarily sealed all roads to Zubin Potok during barricade dismantlement, talks with local officials. UNSG Ban 22 Aug criticised Kosovo police for failing to react to 28 June attack on Serb buses in Priština that injured 16 children. EULEX prosecutors 31 July indicted 8 judges for embezzlement. Govt 18 Aug announced plans to commence Montenegro, Serbia border demarcation process.

Kosovo

  |  1 Aug 2012

Unchanged

International Steering Group 2 July announced Kosovo achieved preconditions for independence, granted full sovereignty from Sept with closing of International Civilian Office; Serbian President Nikolić 10 July said Kosovo should not expect to control northern Serb-dominated region; Minister of Interior Bajram Rexhepi 23 July promised no new police intervention in the north, but sought integration of region. PM Thaçi 8 July held symbolic meeting with Serbian opposition leader Boris Tadić at Dubrovnik regional summit; Serbian govt boycotted meeting due to Kosovo presence. EU High Representative Ashton 25 July called for resumption of Kosovo-Serbia talks in meeting with PM Thaçi. Deputy PM Kuçi 10 July returned to post after parliament amended disputed legislation causing June resignation. Deputy PM Bukoshi, Deputy Finance Minister Haraqija 9 July resigned amid ongoing corruption investigations. In Mitrovica, municipal building stoned 4 July; opening of govt office 9 July met with protests by locals. 3 armed attacks 18 July targeted Kosovo police officer’s home, radio station, private bank in Serb-controlled Zubin Potok.

“Steering group grants Kosovo full sovereignty”, RFE/RL, 24 July 2012.

Kosovo

  |  1 Jul 2012

Unchanged

Clashes 28 June after Kosovo Albanians attacked Serbs visiting Gazimestan historical site. 2 NATO soldiers, 4 Kosovo Serb protesters injured 1 June in firefight over removal of barricades in N Kosovo. 2 grenades thrown 19 June at KFOR Brjnak crossing barracks in N Kosovo. KFOR 22 June bolstered security in preparation for opening of Kosovo govt office in Serb neighbourhood of Mitrovica. Kosovo nationalist activists 21 June pelted convoy of EU envoy Robert Cooper during protest against “paternalistic” approach of EU. Same day parliament amended legislation to pave way for closure of International Civilian Office. Deputy PM Kuçi 22 June resigned in protest against passage of penal code EU says undermines press freedom. EU 5 June announced extension of EULEX mandate until 2014 at reduced manpower.

Kosovo

  |  1 Jun 2012

Unchanged

Serbian elections 6, 20 May conducted peacefully; OSCE Chairperson 21 May commended “responsible behaviour on all sides”; 2 N Kosovo municipalities conducted local Serbian elections despite opposition from international community; Priština 8 May condemned local elections as illegal. Kosovo 23 May announced opening of administrative office in North Mitrovica to disburse govt funds; Serbia said move “flagrant provocation”. Serbian presidential elections 20 May passed without violence in N Kosovo; new Serbian President Nikolić 28 May stated Serbia would not recognise Kosovo in return for EU membership. EULEX forces 21 May raided home of N Kosovo Serb businessman Zvonko Veselinović, suspected of links to organised crime, organising riots against EULEX forces; 6 suspected accomplices arrested 30 May. 2 Kosovo Serb houses 23 May set on fire in N Kosovo, police investigating links to Albanian National Army paramilitary group.

Kosovo

  |  1 May 2012

Unchanged

After weeks of wrangling, political hostilities, Kosovo, Serbia and EU 30 April agreed OSCE to organise Serbian parliamentary, presidential elections in N Kosovo for eligible voters; Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dačić same day claimed to have intelligence Priština planning to attack, sabotage polling stations. EU High Representative Ashton 14 April called on Serbs and Kosovo Albanians to refrain from “selective use of the law” to justify inflammatory arrests following 31 March arrest of 2 Kosovo Police officers on Serbia-Kosovo border by Serbian paramilitary police; arrest allegedly took place inside Kosovo; Kosovo police 23 April arrested 2 Kosovo Serbs, including Serbia’s district chief for Kosovo, for alleged intimidation of Kosovo Serbs regarding 6 May election. Ethnic Albanian 8 April killed in bomb blast outside Mitrovica home. Kosovo police 20 April probed allegations of armed ethnic Albanian militias on patrol in N Kosovo.  

Kosovo

  |  1 Apr 2012

Unchanged

In midst of Serbian election campaign, Serbian govt 13 March announced inclusion of N Kosovo in 6 May local Serbian elections; but said in concession to international community it will undertake activities in cooperation with UNMIK. Kosovo PM Thaci 14 March said Serbia “provoking open conflict” with Kosovo; Interior Minister Rexhepi 22 March said police preparing operational plan in consultation with EULEX, KFOR to prevent vote; EU 14 March said move violation of UNSC resolution 1244; blacklisted Kosovar Albanian National Army, 17 March threatened to use force if international community failed to prevent elections. Police 28 March arrested 4 Serbs for organising Serbian municipal elections in Kosovo; Serbian police same day arrested 4 Kosovo Albanians on charges of “crimes against the Constitution and security”; Serbian Interior Minister Dačić described action as “reciprocal measures”. Serbia 31 March arrested 2 Kosovo policemen near border; Kosovo Interior Minister Rexhepi said men within Kosovo territory, condemned act as “kidnapping”. Kosovo 15 March walked out of first regional forum with Serbia, citing Serb failure to abide by Kosovo representation agreement; Serbia 22 March called for EU arbitration to settle dispute.

Kosovo

  |  1 Mar 2012

Unchanged

Over 99% of Kosovo Serbs voting in controversial unofficial referendum in North 14-15 Feb rejected sovereignty of Kosovo institutions; turnout estimated at 75%. Serbian President Tadić 14 Feb again criticised referendum as harmful to Serbia’s interests. EU-facilitated Kosovo-Serbia dialogue 24 Feb achieved agreement clearing the way for Kosovo to independently represent itself in regional organisations, made further progress on integrated border management. Kosovo nationalist party Vetëvendosje (Self-Determination) condemned compromise, staged protest 27 Feb outside parliament. KFOR and Serbian police 23 Feb removed barricades at Jarinje and Brnjak in North Kosovo, allowing cars to cross border into Serbia. Kosovo police special units 25 Feb arrested 5 Serbian police officers for “threaten[ing] Kosovo’s legal order” and obstructing police officers. EU Commission 28 Feb promised feasibility study for EU-Pristina Stabilisation and Association Agreement, seen as first step to membership. Parliament 31 Jan adopted resolution calling for end to “internationally supervised independence” at end of 2012. New political coalition Serb Movement of Kosovo, independent of Belgrade, launched in N Kosovo.

Kosovo

  |  1 Feb 2012

Unchanged

Situation in North calmed as KFOR stopped pressuring local Serbs to lift barricades, Serbs allowed EULEX to pass twice a day. Northern leaders scheduled advisory referendum for Kosovo Serbs mid Feb on whether they acknowledge Kosovo govt institutions, despite request by Belgrade to cancel vote, arguing it will hurt Serbia’s interests, chances of gaining EU candidate status. Dozens injured, including police, and 146 arrested 14 Jan as police tried to disperse protest by Self-Determination party activists near Serbian border, supporting 7 Dec parliamentary motion advocating trade ban with Serbia; further protest 22 Jan. Parliament passed new counter-motion welcoming agreements between Pristina and Belgrade, supporting technical dialogue. International Steering Group 24 Jan set end of 2012 as timeframe for full Kosovo independence, called on Serbia to withdraw security forces personnel; Serbia denied security forces present. EU launched visa liberalisation dialogue with Kosovo.

Kosovo

  |  2 Jan 2012

Unchanged

At 8th round of EU-brokered talks Kosovo and Serbia 2 Dec reached agreement on Integrated Border Management (IBM); Belgrade later denied deal meant Serbian de facto recognition of Kosovo. Following IBM agreement and late Nov call by Serbian president Tadic to remove barricades, Serbs at Jagnjenica and Jarinje border crossings 5 Dec agreed to remove barricades in return for KFOR removing vehicles blocking roads; however, still no freedom of movement for EULEX, and fresh barricades erected prior to European Council’s 9 Dec delay of decision on Serbia’s EU candidacy (see Serbia). Russian aid convoy 16 Dec delivered goods to Kosovo Serbs after being held up at border for several days over disagreement with EU on how aid delivered. Kosovo Serbs 14 Dec offered to negotiate peace initiative with international peacekeeping officials. Serbia 20 Dec arrested 2 Kosovo Serb brothers, one of whom identified by KFOR as coordinator of recent violence at border, on suspicion of involvement in arms production. In line with agreements reached earlier in year, Serbia 20 Dec started to hand over to Kosovo copies of civil registry books seized in 1999, 26 Dec implemented freedom of movement agreement allowing Kosovo citizens to enter with ID cards, drive vehicles with Kosovo plates and drivers licences. Growing tensions between govt and opposition on issues including trade relations with Serbia, ongoing dialogue. EU appointed outgoing Slovenian FM Samuel Zbogar head of new EU office in Pristina.

Kosovo

  |  1 Dec 2011

Deteriorated

Increasing fears over tensions and outbreaks of violence in north Kosovo, as Serbs continue to barricade customs gates with Serbia against Kosovo customs officials. 1 Serb shot dead, 2 wounded including 1 Kosovo Police officer, in clash between ethnic Serbs and Albanians in Brdjani, N Mitrovica 9 Nov. KFOR troops 9 Nov used tear gas against 2 trucks trying to drive into checkpoint near Jarinje, 23 Nov clashed with hundreds of Serbs after attempt to dismantle Serb roadblock in Rudare; 21 KFOR soldiers injured before withdrawing, along with unknown number of Serbs. Dozens of Serbs injured 28 Nov as Serbs tried to prevent KFOR dismantling barricade at Jagnjenica; 25 KFOR troops also injured, including 2 by small-arms fire. KFOR commander Gen Erhard Drews 26 Nov warned over possible escalation of violence. Serbian President Tadic 29 Nov called on Serbs to leave barricades. Serbian interior minister Ivica Dacic 24 Nov said Serbia should be ready for war over north, drawing condemnation from EU, Pristina. Belgrade 18 Nov adopted decree putting in force civil registry agreement agreed in Pristina-Belgrade dialogue. EU-facilitated talks aimed at normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina resumed at 7th round 21-22 Nov after 2-month hiatus. Sides agreed to accept each other’s higher education qualifications and agreed to return to issue of Kosovo’s participation in regional fora at next meeting. No deal on EU-proposed compromise solution for control of Kosovo-Serbia border. 8th round opened 30 Nov.



Kosovo

  |  1 Dec 2011

Deteriorated

Kosovo

  |  1 Nov 2011

Unchanged

Continued standoff between KFOR peacekeeping forces and Kosovo Serbs maintaining over a dozen roadblocks on main roads in north in protest against Kosovo govt customs officials at border crossings with Serbia. Serbs ignored KFOR deadlines to remove roadblocks, prevented KFOR convoys from delivering supplies to troops on border with Serbia. KFOR 20 Oct attempted to remove barricades in Zupce and Jagnjenica in Zubin Potok municipality; around 40 Serb protesters reported injured in clashes with KFOR at Jagnjenica. Kosovo Serb mayors 22 Oct offered deal allowing KFOR freedom of movement for troop resupply, but refused to extend deal to EULEX. Following further discussions with Serbian president Tadic, local Serbs 27 Oct agreed to partially remove barricades, allow KFOR through. KFOR welcomed move but said not enough. European Commission annual progress report 12 Oct cited limited progress in tackling organised crime, drug trafficking, corruption; announced opening of visa liberalisation dialogue by year-end.

Kosovo

  |  1 Oct 2011

Deteriorated

Tensions remain high in north, with outbreak of violence between NATO forces and Kosovo Serbs, who continue to reject presence of Kosovo customs officers at gates 1 and 31 between Kosovo and Serbia. Despite Serbian request to UNSC to prevent Pristina taking control of border points, EULEX 16 Sept deployed customs and border officers with Kosovo “supervisors” to gates, protected by KFOR forces. EULEX, EU, NATO, U.S. gave support for Pristina. Brussels and Pristina presented move as implementation of technical agreement on customs stamps reached 2 Sept as part of ongoing EU-mediated Pristina-Belgrade dialogue; Belgrade denied agreement touched on gates. Serbs responded by erecting roadblocks at both gates and throughout north, using illegal alternative crossing points; 4 KFOR soldiers, several Serb civilians injured during clashes at border post 27 Sept. EULEX arrested 2 Serbs suspected of shooting at house of Serb Kosovo police officer 20 Sept. Belgrade calling on Serbs to protest peacefully. Amid strained Pristina-Belgrade relations, Belgrade pulled out of 7th scheduled dialogue session in Brussels 28 Sept, after saying it would only discuss border situation; unclear when dialogue will resume. Constitutional court 20 Sept ruled Kosovo deputies’ immunity limited to official acts and duties, plenary sessions of Assembly.

Kosovo

  |  1 Sep 2011

Unchanged Risk Alert
Situation in North remains tense following crisis that erupted late July after Kosovo special police attempted to take control of border gates with Serbia in North; observers fear further violence if govt attempts to impose institutions on Serb-held North without prior agreement. After EU mediator failed to resolve crisis, KFOR commander Erhard Bühler early Aug brokered agreement whereby Gates 1 and 31 remain protected military zones under KFOR control, Gate 31 also operated by mixed Kosovo Police, no customs officials at either gate. Bühler 15 Aug reported all barricades removed. Deal valid until 15 Sept, dialogue resumes 2 Sept. In wake of crisis EULEX criticized by all sides; its investigation into burning of Gate 1 reportedly further raising tensions in North. Pristina promising further actions to enforce its sovereignty in North, ruled out discussing issue with Belgrade; observers fear violent reprisals by local Serbs. Fears also over possible Albanian nationalist reprisals against Serb communities elsewhere in Kosovo, and for future of EU-mediated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. UNSC 30 Aug condemned violence, called for resumption of dialogue. International authority including EULEX, KFOR damaged by crisis. EU leaders emphasizing dialogue and ruling out further unilateral acts, U.S. offering support to Pristina’s efforts in the North. EULEX appointed team to investigate allegations of organ trafficking following 1999 war, to be headed by U.S. prosecutor.

Kosovo

  |  1 Aug 2011

Deteriorated

Tensions soared late month after Kosovo special police attempted to take control of 2 custom posts with Serbia to enforce new ban on imports from Serbia, and Kosovo Serbs responded violently 25 July. One police officer shot dead by Serbs 26 July; some 200 Serbs 27 July attacked and set fire to Jarinje border security post, fired at NATO KFOR forces. KFOR sent reinforcements to take control of the 2 posts 28 July, declared them restricted areas. KFOR in ongoing talks with Serbia. EU, U.S., UNSG Ban, Serbian President Tadic called for immediate restoration of calm. UNSC held closed meeting 28 July. PM Thaci said no return to the status quo, Kosovo will control all its territory. EU-mediated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia early month reached first agreements on civil registry, acceptance of academic diplomas, freedom of movement. Round of dialogue scheduled 20-21 July postponed until Sept, as sides judged to be too far apart to reach new breakthrough. International Steering Group extended International Civilian Representative mandate until end 2012. PM Thaçi 20 July requested Constitutional Court clarify immunity of President, PM and MPs. Kosovo Special Prosecutor indicted ex-minister, current MP Fatmir Limaj for war crimes.

Kosovo

  |  1 Jul 2011

Unchanged

Fifth round of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue talks postponed by Serbia due to “procedural issues”, amid increasing expectations that breakthrough on certain issues is near. Pristina maintains it supports ideas put across by EU mediator Robert Cooper, blames Serbia for delaying tactics; Belgrade maintains it wants to further discuss proposals on freedom of movement, civil registry, electricity and telecommunications. Situation in North remained tense as residents obstructing proposed police rotations. Local Serbs blockaded police station in Zubin Potok several times; bomb placed under police car in Leposavić 21 June. IMF 2 June suspended 2010 stand-by agreement with Kosovo after govt budget violated agreement. Following ongoing pressure from Serbia, EU announced creation of Brussels-based taskforce to investigate allegations of organ trafficking by KLA members.

Kosovo

  |  1 Jun 2011

Unchanged

Chief Serbian negotiator in Pristina-Belgrade dialogue Borko Stefanovic in Pristina mid May; visit marred by violent demonstrations led by Self-Determination party. Belgrade and Pristina held 4th round of direct talks in Brussels 17-18 May. Serbia’s Interior Minister Ivica Dacic 15 May told Kosovo newspaper partition “only solution”; later clarified this not official policy. EULEX 17 May arrested man in Zubin Potok in North over organised crime, triggering angry response from local Serbs; several hundred blocked main road and bridge. Kosovo police mid month decided to rotate station commanders in Northern municipalities; Serb authorities rejected move.

Kosovo

  |  1 May 2011

Unchanged

Following late March annulment of Feb election of Behgjet Pacolli as president, and opposition threats of boycott if Pacolli ran again, parliament 7 Apr elected deputy director of Kosovo police Atifete Jahjaga as president. Selection, which solved govt crisis created by late March constitutional court ruling, followed agreement between govt coalition and main opposition LDK party previous day. Parties also agreed to rewrite constitution to make president directly elected by voters, and hold new presidential elections within 18 months of new constitution; established 2 working groups 22 Apr. Census took place 1-15 Apr except in north where full boycott in place. Belgrade, Pristina held 3rd round of direct talks in Brussels mid Apr, addressing freedom of movement issues. Head of Serbian delegation Borko Stefanovic 23 Apr said Serbia “not running away from” idea of partition; Kosovo delegation head Edita Tahiri 26 Apr reiterated only technical issues could be discussed at talks. Serbia 20 Apr sent proposal for investigation into allegations of organ trafficking in Kosovo and Albania following 1998 conflict to UNSG Ban. Local judges and prosecutors returned to District Court of Mitrovica North for first time since being forced out in 2008.

Kosovo

  |  1 Apr 2011

Unchanged

Country thrown back into political crisis by Constitutional Court’s 28 March ruling that 22 Feb election in parliament of Behgjet Pacolli as president breached constitution due to lack of two thirds quorum of MPs and need for more than one candidate in vote. Pacolli 30 March left office, announced he would stand for election again. First round of EU-mediated Kosovo-Serbia talks took place in Brussels 8-9 March, resumed 28 March; sides reported some progress on land registers, energy supply. Next meeting expected mid-April. Parliament 10 March approved draft resolution proposed by govt coalition on acceptable content for talks, despite lack of opposition support. Thousands rallied across Kosovo protesting EULEX’s mid-month arrest of a number of former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) soldiers on war crime charges, including former transport minister and KLA leader Fatmir Limaj; govt, opposition also condemned arrests. Local police and Kosovo riot police 16 March refused access to EULEX forces attempting to arrest senior Kosovo police officer Nexhmi Krasniqi , who later surrendered.

Kosovo

  |  1 Mar 2011

Unchanged

New Kosovo Assembly met for first time 21 Feb following Dec elections, 22 Feb approved new govt under PM Thaci, elected billionaire construction mogul Behgjet Pacolli as president after 3 rounds of voting with 62 votes out of 120 members. Opposition parties boycotted vote, denounced break before third round as unconstitutional, filed complaint with constitutional court. Govt coalition consists of Thaçi’s PDK, Pacolli’s AKR and several Serb and minority parties, comprising 65 assembly seats; strains already appearing in both main parties. U.S. ambassador Dell accused by media of interfering in president vote. Govt 23 Feb said ready for dialogue with Serbia, announced deputy PM Edita Tahiri to lead delegation. PM Thaci early month forced to suspend 50% salary rise for public sector employees following international pressure.

Kosovo

  |  1 Feb 2011

Unchanged

Following flawed 12 Dec snap parliamentary elections, rerun of vote in 5 municipalities 9 Jan and in Mitrovica 23 Jan marked by low voter turnout, further reported irregularities. Final results give Democratic Party of Kosovo 34 seats out of 120, followed by Democratic League of Kosovo with 27, Self-Determination 14, Alliance for Future of Kosovo 12, New Kosovo Alliance 8, Serb parties 14, other minority parties 11. State prosecution office investigating 133 cases of election violations, mostly Pristina, Prizren, Mitrovica. Several political parties renewed calls for fresh elections throughout country. EUSR Pieter Feith 23 Jan said new govt should exclude individuals who are indicted or under investigation. Newly-appointed leader of Serbia’s negotiating team Borko Stafanovic 22 Jan said planned talks with Pristina to include Kosovo status. Council of Europe 26 Jan called for new inquiry into allegations senior KLA leaders involved in war crimes, organized crime and organ trafficking following 1999 conflict with Serbia, published Dec; EULEX late month launched preliminary investigation. PM Thaci under pressure from opposition, Feith and IMF to cancel early Jan decision to increase public sector wages by up to 50%. Govt 11 Jan ordered police to confiscate new Serbia-issued vehicle license plates; apparent informal agreement reached 18 Jan for Serbia to stop issuing plates, Kosovo to stop confiscating them. KFOR 22 Jan handed over control of part of border with Macedonia to Kosovo Border Police.

Kosovo

  |  3 Jan 2011

Unchanged

Incumbent PM Thaci’s Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) won 12 Dec snap parliamentary elections necessitated by Oct collapse of coalition, first general election since 2008 declaration of independence. PDK leading party with 33.5% of vote, Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) 23.6%, pan-Albanian Vetevendosje (self-determination) party came third. Electoral commission reported 48% turnout; poll marred by extensive allegations of fraud, with some 40% of ballots to be recounted, vote to be repeated in 5 municipalities 9 Jan. Turnout among Kosovo Serbs south of Ibar comparable with Kosovo average despite some problems with outdated, missing voter rolls; no Serbs voted north of Ibar amid intimidation campaign by nationalist Serbs. Bosniak electoral commission worker shot 8 Dec in north. Kosovo Serb Independent Liberal Party 28 Dec said ready to form a coalition with PDK. Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty released report mid month alleging Thaci and other former KLA commanders ran murder and organ trafficking ring during 1998-99 conflict with Serbia. Pristina said report “slanderous”, Thaci 20 Dec said will sue Marty for defamation. Serbian President Tadic 21 Dec said Belgrade-Pristina talks on technical issues should start despite report; Thaci said report threatens talks.

Kosovo

  |  1 Dec 2010

Unchanged

Following Oct collapse of coalition govt, parliament 2 Nov passed vote of no confidence in govt, triggering snap elections for 12 Dec. Serbian FM Vuk Jeremic 12 Nov told UNSC Belgrade would not encourage Kosovo Serbs to participate in election; however 8 Serb parties and lists, all from south of Ibar river, registered to run. Jeremic and UN SRSG Lamberto Zannier both warned of rising tensions in North Kosovo ahead of polls. Sporadic but more frequent incidents continuing in North, mostly targeting local Albanian and Serbs cooperating with Pristina-based institutions, including 16 Nov grenade attack on home of Serb candidate in 12 Dec election, and police officer shot dead in Klina 22 Nov. EULEX vehicle attacked in Pristina 23 Nov. Jeremic 18 Nov said Pristina not ready for talks before Dec elections; reiterated Serbia’s refusal to recognise Kosovo independence, emphasized talks should focus on technical issues. EU progress report praised advances on decentralisation, cited concerns on rule of law, corruption.

Kosovo

  |  1 Nov 2010

Unchanged

Amid institutional crisis caused by collapse of coalition govt mid month, opposition MPs 28 Oct called vote of no confidence in govt, set for 2 Nov; if passed will necessitate snap elections within 45 days. Comes after Fatmir Sejdui, who resigned late Sept as president, 18 Oct announced his Democratic League of Kosovo party leaving ruling coalition, in which it was junior partner. Developments bring forward early elections announced by acting president Krasniqi 15 Oct for 13 Feb. On Kosovo leg of Balkans tour U.S. Sec State Clinton 13 Oct backed dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, said status, sovereignty, territorial integrity will not be discussed during talks. Serbian state secretary for Kosovo and Metohija late month called for stability in North ahead of anticipated talks, following several incidents over month including setting on fire of 2 Serb-owned vehicles in Zvečan. EULEX 5 Oct announced increasing presence in north to fight organized crime, released several suspects arrested early month due to complications over jurisdiction. Hardline ethnic Serb parties gained control of North’s parallel structures 21 Oct after moderate coalition collapsed. NATO 29 Oct announced its 10,000-strong force in Kosovo to be halved over next few months.  

Kosovo

  |  1 Oct 2010

Unchanged

UNGA 9 Sept adopted Serbian resolution backed by all EU member states paving way for EU-led dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, after intense diplomatic pressure from Brussels to drop condemnation of Kosovo’s independence. Meeting with EU foreign policy chief Ashton 20 Sept, PM Thaci said talks between Pristina and Belgrade “represented a new chapter in relations in the region”. Belgrade said expects status to be on agenda; ruled out by Thaci who said U.S. mediation also vital, rejected UN involvement. Constitutional Court 24 Sept found President Sejdiu in violation of constitution by holding office and DLK party leadership simultaneously; Sejdiu resigned presidency 27 Sept. Assembly speaker Jakup Krasniqi took over as interim president; early-2011 presidential elections likely. NATO SG Rasmussen 16 Sept said Kosovo troop reductions considered by alliance members are too big.

Kosovo

  |  1 Sep 2010

Unchanged Resolution Opportunity

Intensive EU efforts aimed at producing UNGA resolution acceptable to Serbia and Kosovo to serve as basis for future dialogue, ahead of 9 Sept UNGA discussion of Serbia’s 28 July draft resolution. German FM Westerwelle 27 Aug, UK Foreign Secretary Hague 31 Aug visited Belgrade to push for changes to draft. Resolution text currently states unilateral secession not acceptable means to solving territorial disputes and calls for new talks on Kosovo on “all open issues”. Kosovo FM Hyseni 4 Aug formally asked UNSC to replace Resolution 1244 with new document following 22 July ICJ ruling on Kosovo’s declaration of independence. President Sejdiu and PM Thaci 16 Aug sent letter to all UN member states asking them to recognise country’s independence, reject Serbian resolution condemning unilateral secession. PM Thaci 18 Aug informed EUSR Feith that Serbian officials banned from visiting Kosovo due to provocations during previous visits; Serbian minister for Kosovo Bogdanovic, due to visit Kosovo 19 Aug, called ban a political provocation. Serbian Constitutional Court 10 Aug ruled that 2003 govt decision granting bonuses to some 45,000 Kosovo Serbs working in parallel govt institutions was unconstitutional, provoking anger among Kosovo Serbs. Officials 20 Aug said payments to continue. 6 injured 28 Aug in explosions in Serb majority municipality of Novo Brdo and Kosovo North. NATO 5 Aug announced start of transfer of protection of Serb Orthodox Churches to Kosovo police. Govt early month announced plans to invest €500,000 in infrastructure projects in North. 

“ICG, ‘Kosovo-Serbia land swap under active consideration’”, BalkanInsight, 27 Aug. 2010.

Kosovo

  |  1 Aug 2010

Unchanged

ICJ 22 July ruled international law contained no applicable prohibition on declarations of independence, hence Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia not illegal. Kosovo’s parliament 23 July adopted declaration hailing ICJ’s opinion, welcomed EU’s offer for talks with Serbia, but only if on technical issues. European Parliament 8 July adopted resolution calling on all EU member states to recognise Kosovo’s independence. In ethnically divided town of Mitrovica, Kosovo Serb lawmaker shot and wounded 5 July; explosion killed 1, injured 11 during 2 July protest by Serbs against opening of Kosovo govt office in town.    

Kosovo

  |  1 Jul 2010

Unchanged

EULEX in 4 June report found Kosovo’s judiciary weak, reform capabilities fragile. EU Council of Ministers 8 June extended EULEX mandate until 2012. NATO Sec Gen Rasmussen 10 June announced Alliance will not start planned second phase downsizing KFOR troops for security reasons. Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe 22 June and European Parliament 23 June adopted resolutions stressing need for progress in rule of law. 2 Macedonian, 2 Albanian citizens killed in shootout 40km from border with Macedonia 21 June by unidentified suspects. 12 June arrest of pro-independence Vetevendosje movement leader Albin Kurti, sought for role in Feb 2007 deadly protests in Pristina, triggered violent protests injuring 12 policemen, 3 activists. President Sejdiu hosted country’s first regional presidential summit 26 June, focusing on visa-free travel, with Macedonian, Albanian, Montenegrin counterparts.

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