Western countries condemn political violence in Kosovo

Western countries urge end to political violence in Kosovo in joint statement

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A protester supporting the opposition shouts in front of the parliament building in Pristina October 23, 2015.

Western embassies on Thursday criticised Kosovo’s opposition parties for their "continued use of violence to achieve political goals."

A joint statement was released by the French, German, Italian, British and US embassies concerning the high political tension in the small Balkan country.

The statement called the violence "unacceptable," adding that it damages the country’s international prestige.

The statement said, "We call for respect for the rule of law, democratic procedures and international norms. Political violence is unacceptable and damages the interests of Kosovo citizens and Kosovo's international standing. This benefits no one."

Those five countries - France, Germany, Italy, Britain and USA - have been the main supporters of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia since 2008, which has not been recognised yet by Belgrade authorities.

For the last few months the opposition has blocked the usual working of the parliament with pepper spray and water balls, calling on the government to reject a deal with Serbia, giving more powers to ethnic-Serb communities in Kosova and another with Montenegro on border line.

The opposition believes that a deal with Serbia could unbalance the ethnic diversity and social scructure in Kosovo.

One opposition lawmaker was arrested on Wednesday and three arrest warrants were issued for other lawmakers.

On Thursday, three opposition leaders cancelled a planned demonstration, hovewer, it is expected that many more street protests will take place on the streets in the upcoming days.

Opposition leaders called on the police not to act like "an instrument of the government."

The opposition announced that blocking the parliament will continue untill the deals are blocked. 

Kosovo and Serbia are still holding EU-mediated reconciliation talks to solve problems between themselves. Serbia still rejects the declaration of independence by Kosovo in 2008 and does not recognise the country as a state.

Kosovo and Serbia are both trying to become EU members, but the border dispute between the two countries is preventing any steps being taken in the EU accession process.

The majority-Albanian Kosovo pushed out Serbian authority in 1999 when NATO carried out 11 weeks of air strikes to halt the mass killings and expulsion of ethnic Albanians by Serbian militias which were trying to crush a guerilla insurgency.

TRTWorld and agencies