Serbian representatives return to Kosovo Parliament

Representatives of Kosovo’s Serbian minority return to parliament, ending two month boycott after being reassured over concerns regarding coalition agreement

Updated Jul 28, 2015

On April 27, Serbian parliamentarians return to the Kosovo Parliament, ending a two month boycott after being assured that the coalition agreement will be respected.

The Serbian representatives withdrew from the parliament following a series of incidents, including Serb Kosovo Minister Aleksandar Jablanovic being sacked and some companies in Kosovo being slated for privatisation.

Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa had announced that the Serbian minister was sacked and not a part of the Kosovo government.

“From today on minister Jablanovic is not a part of the Kosovo government,” said Mustafa.

According to AFP, Jablanovic was sacked to soothe the outrage sparked after he called a group of ethnic Albanians “savages” for trying to prevent Serb pilgrims from visiting a monastery in western Kosovo on Orthodox Christmas.

Straight after the minister was sacked, Serbs declared that the representatives would pull out of the Kosovo Parliament and demanded for the coalition agreement to be respected.

The coalition agreement - which includes amendments to post-war privatizations, consideration of the formation of a semi-autonomous Association of Serbian Municipalities, and the return of Kosovo Serb refugees - was signed in December 2014.

After the two month long boycott the Serbian representatives regained confidence in the government and on April 23 decided to return to the country’s parliament.

One of the main reasons for the return of Serbian representatives to the Kosovo assembly and government is an agreement by which there will be no unilateral moves by the coalition partners, especially regarding the privatisation [of companies] in Serbian majority communities,” a representative of Sprska List, the main Kosovo Serb party, said.

The decision to end the boycott came after Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic met on April 22 for another round of EU-mediated talks in Brussels.

Nothing new was introduced to the agreement, however both parties agreed to stop the privatisation of companies in North Kosovo on the condition of Serbian representatives ending their boycott.

The two leaders have also decided to create two new border crossings between Kosovo and Serbia.

All the Serbian representatives rejected the unilateral declaration of independence in 2008 by the Assembly of Kosovo. Relations between Serbs and the Albanian majority in Kosovo worsened after Kosovo began to strive for independence in 1999.

TRTWorld and agencies