The head of diplomacy of the European Union, Joseph Borrell, called on Tuesday, May 30 Serbs and Kosovars to "defuse tensions immediately and unconditionally" after clashes in Kosovo that left about thirty wounded among international soldiers.
EU member states are "discussing possible measures to be taken if the parties continue to resist the proposed measures for de-escalation," he said in Brussels, after telephone talks with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Alexander Vucic.
Calls for appeasement ignored
Borrell called on the Kosovo authorities to suspend police operations around municipal buildings in the north of the country and for Serb protesters to withdraw. Thirty members of the NATO-led international force in Kosovo (KFOR) were injured on Monday in clashes with Serb demonstrators demanding the departure of Albanian mayors. Belgrade reported dozens of protesters injured.
Many members of the Serb community, the majority in four northern cities, do not recognize Pristina's authority and are loyal to Belgrade. The Serbs boycotted the April municipal elections in these localities, which resulted in the election of Albanian mayors with a turnout of less than 3.5%. These mayors were sworn in last week by Albin Kurti's government, ignoring calls for appeasement from the EU and the United States.
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This Monday in Zvecan, the Serb demonstrators were initially pushed back by Kosovar forces who used tear gas. KFOR then attempted to separate the two sides before beginning to disperse the crowd. Protesters responded by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the soldiers. The European Union "firmly" supports KFOR "in the fulfilment of its mandate, in the interest of peace and stability in Kosovo", said Joseph Borrell. The EU "condemns in the strongest terms the violence of the last few days in northern Kosovo, against civilians, against the media, against the security forces and against KFOR troops", he added. This violence "is totally unacceptable and leads to a very dangerous situation". "There is already too much violence in Europe today. We cannot afford a new conflict," the head of European diplomacy said, referring to the war in Ukraine.