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Kosovo: Nikolic urges calm over Serbs

last update: June 07, 17:46

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Belgrade, 7 June (AKI) - Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic on Thursday talked to representatives of Kosovo Serbs, first time since he was sworn in last week, and appealed to them to remain calm and not to resort to violence.

The meeting followed last week’s clashes between local Serbs in northern Kosovo and NATO forces (KFOR) in which several soldiers and Serbs were injured. Minority Serbs oppose Kosovo independence, declared by majority Albanians in 2008, and had set up roadblocks in protest against placing Kosovo policemen and customs at border crossings with Serbia.

Nikolic said he would seek a national consensus with all political parties to determine how to deal with Kosovo problem, saying Belgrade could not stand idly by while Serb rights in Kosovo were violated.

Belgrade opposes independence, but Kosovo ahs been recognized by ninety countries, including the United States and 22 out of 27 EU members. The government of former president Boris Tadic had made a number of concessions on Kosovo in order to get a status of an official candidate for the EU last March.

Nikolic said Tadic’s government has kept secret the details of talks it held with Pristina under the auspices of the EU. He vowed to make public all documents available to him soon.

“Serbs in Kosovo must be informed of all agreements and decisions taken by the state of Serbia which directly influence their lives,” he said. “If something is hidden from me, then it will be hidden from citizens as well.

Apart form defeating Tadic in presidential election in May, Nikolic’s Serbian Progressive Party beat Tadic’s pro-European democrats in parliamentary race. But Tadic has better coalition potential and was likely to form new government with two other political parties.

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