KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, KOSOVO – Kosovo’s Serb minority unilaterally founded a regional assembly Thursday to protest against steps by Serbia recognizing the breakaway Pristina government.
The move challenges an April 19 deal brokered by the European Union that forces Serbia to normalize ties with Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008. In return, Belgrade would get to start EU accession talks and the 40,000 ethnic Serbs who live in northern Kosovo would be granted some level of autonomy.
Under the EU-brokered deal, Kosovo Serb chiefs were supposed to create an association of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo scheduled to be formed after local polls Nov. 3.
“We will not take part in the November elections, we have our legally chosen representatives,” said Slavko Stevanovic, who was picked to head the new body by 97 deputies.
The Kosovo Serbs’ move was not backed by Serbia. “The assembly goes against the accord and I do not see what weight it could have without Belgrade’s support,” said Milovan Drecun, a top Serbian official.