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CrisisWatch Kosovo

Deteriorated Situation

Tensions spiked with Serbia following 14 Jan reopening of railway between Belgrade and northern Mitrovica town in ethnic Serb part of Kosovo, closed since 1999, with Serbian train painted with slogan “Kosovo is Serbia” in 21 languages. Serbia stopped train before border, claiming Kosovo was planning to attack it, after Kosovo ordered its authorities to block it, saying it was provocative. Serbian PM Vucic accused Kosovo of trying to provoke “large-scale conflict”, while President Nikolic 15 Jan warned sides had been on “brink of war”, said Serbia ready to send troops to defend Serbs in Kosovo if necessary. Kosovo President Thaci 16 Jan said Belgrade plotting to annex northern Kosovo. Tensions also fuelled by France’s 4 Jan arrest, acting on Serbian warrant, of former PM Ramush Haradinaj on charges of war crimes; French court 12 Jan released him from custody, decision on extradition request from Belgrade pending. Kosovo and Serbian PMs and presidents met in Brussels 24 Jan for EU-mediated talks; EU foreign policy chief Mogherini called on them to put aside differences. President Thaci said meeting succeeded in lowering tension, however his remark that Serbian leaders had started to recognise Kosovo’s independence drew sharp response from Serbian PM Vucic; next meeting scheduled for 1 Feb. Hand grenade damaged new govt building in northern Mitrovica 10 Jan, no casualties.

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Reports & Briefings

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Report / Europe & Central Asia

Serbia and Kosovo: The Path to Normalisation

Serbia and Kosovo must build on a recent breakthrough in negotiations and extend dialogue to sensitive issues, especially northern Kosovo’s institutions, in order to keep their fragile relationship moving forward.

Also available in Shqip, Српски
Op-Ed / Europe & Central Asia

Setting Kosovo Free

Originally published in Today's Zaman

Report / Europe & Central Asia

Setting Kosovo Free: Remaining Challenges

Kosovo deserves to celebrate today as the international community converts the “supervised independence” it achieved four years ago to full independence, but it must also do more to guarantee full protection of minority rights, especially those of the country’s Serb population.

Also available in Shqip, Српски