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12 Dec, 2022 00:42

Serbia slams German ‘absurdity’

Top officials in Belgrade and Berlin have clashed over Kosovo tensions
Serbia slams German ‘absurdity’

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has dismissed Belgrade’s plan to request the deployment of Serbian troops to Kosovo as a “totally unacceptable” provocation, prompting accusations of double standards from Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.

“In terms of international law and stability, based on which criteria do you decide which [UN Security Council Resolutions] must be respected, and which must be ignored? ... Stunning level of absurdity,” Brnabic tweeted on Sunday night.

Under Resolution 1244 of the United Nations Security Council, Brnabic noted, Serbia has the right to send military and police personnel to Kosovo in certain situations, including in the event that the “peaceful and normal life” of its population there becomes threatened.

The importance of adhering to the respective UNSC resolutions in addressing “each and every problem” was also emphasized at the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in May – and yet when it comes to Serbia, Germany is now “explicitly saying that the UNSCR 1244… should be ignored,” according to Brnabic.

President Aleksandar Vucic announced on Saturday that Serbia will request that its forces be deployed to Kosovo amid an Albanian-led crackdown on the province’s Serb population, even though he had no doubt that NATO would reject the plea. On Sunday, Belgrade allegedly received assurances from the Kosovo Force (KFOR) that it would not take “violent actions” against demonstrators.

Baerbock called Belgrade’s statements provocative, while praising Pristina for allegedly doing its best to defuse tensions. “Recent rhetoric from Serbia did the opposite. Suggesting sending Serbian forces to Kosovo is completely unacceptable,” she said.

The latest standoff in the predominantly Serbian northern Kosovo was sparked by the arrest of a former local police officer accused of attacking an ethnic Albanian law enforcement patrol. Over the weekend, protesters erected barricades, with the authorities in Belgrade accusing the EU and other Kosovo backers of neglecting the grievances of local Serbs and only “paying attention… when they are on the barricades.”

Vucic urged Serbs in northern Kosovo to “be calm and peaceful and not to fall for provocations,” and especially refrain from any aggressive moves against EULEX and KFOR, the EU- and NATO-led missions stationed in Kosovo.