Serbian president worried tensions in Kosovo might endanger Serb population

BELGRADE, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) — Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic called for a meeting of the National Security Council on Saturday to discuss the political-security situation in the southern province of Kosovo and Metohija, after the temporary authorities there missed the deadline proposed by European Union (EU) to adopt the statute of the Serb Community.
Serbia’s southern province unilaterally seceded in 2008 with the support of the United States and most EU countries. And in 2013, by signing the Brussels Agreement, the two sides agreed to work on normalizing relations under the patronage of the EU, and eventually achieve a legally binding agreement.
However, in a media address Saturday, Vucic accused the temporary authorities in Pristina of failing to fulfill their sole obligation – to form the Community of Serb Municipalities 1,930 days after the deal was signed.
He said that the Council also discussed the work of certain “agents, both in Pristina and Belgrade” assigned together with media, political circles and foreign intelligence services, to overshadow Pristina’s missed deadline by misinforming and provoking the public.
Vucic specified that a rumor was created by political and media circles both in Belgrade and Pristina together with foreign intelligence that Serbia together with Pristina authorities plan to “engineer a violent mutual conflict, with an aim to achieve their political ambitions”, and refuted this as “nonsense” aimed to create panic and distrust.
He repeated that Serbia fulfilled all obligations of the Brussels Agreement, pointing out that the Agreement on Energy will be implemented only after the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities, as this body is in charge of founding energy supply companies.
He reminded that Friday he directed an open letter to Kosovo Serbs asking them to remain calm, “not to fall under provocations and provide any excuse to Kosovo Albanians or international community to commit violence over them”.
In the letter, he also said that the country “will not allow organized violence over Serbs and their sacraments, nor their persecution” and urged Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and KFOR (Kosovo Force) to prevent any attempt of potential takeover of the Gazivode hydro-power plant from the hands of local Serbs in North Kosovo, or any other key infrastructure object.
Friday, Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS), Serbia’s public broadcaster, reported that all Kosovo Police officers had to urgently return from their vacations due to “operative engagements”, while at the same time NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) started a “planned exercise” across the territory of the province.
Since Friday night media reported several dozens of KFOR armored vehicles approaching North Kosovo, while Saturday morning helicopters and soldiers in full combat gear secured the perimeter around the Gazivode hydro power plant and the accumulation lake.
However, KFOR denied reports that they took control over the lake, and assured that the presence of troops is part of an earlier planned two-day exercise to test readiness and capacity of soldiers.
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci also reacted to the tensions with a press release, urging citizens to restrain from any sort of provocation, and assured that Pristina authorities are dedicated to finalizing work on the draft statute of the Community of Serb Municipalities, and normalizing relations with Serbia by adopting a legally binding agreement as envisaged by the Brussels Agreement signed on April 19, 2013.
Kosovo is a southern province of Serbia, which unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Serbia rejects it and considers Kosovo its own province.

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