Photo: AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu
Ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo have rejected the rule of the Kosovar government in a public referendum, the BBC reports.Kosovo Serb officials said 99.7 per cent of voters said “no” to the government in Pristina. But only Serbs in northern Kosovo, who make up just a third of the Serb population of the territory, took part in the vote, which was held on Tuesday.
The referendum has been criticised by everyone from Kosovo and Albania, to the EU and even Serbia.
The Kosovo parliament in Pristina denounced the referendum, saying it “does not produce any legally and politically binding effect and as such is not valid.”
Serbian President Boris Tadic said the referendum was harmful to Serbia’s interests. However, he said this did not mean Serbia was giving up its claim to Kosovo. His views were echoed by experts, who said the incident was a setback to Serbia’s efforts to negotiate with Kosovo, which in turn would harm Serbia’s bid to join the EU.
Many Kosovo Serbs feel Belgrade should not deal with a government it officially does not recognise.
Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 is not recognised by Belgrade.
About 90 per cent of Kosovo’s population is ethnic Albanian, but Serbs dominate a northern area bordering Serbia, as well as certain pockets in the south, according to AFP. The Serbs in Kosovo have often obstructed EU and NATO missions in Kosovo, and repeatedly caused problems for the Kosovar government.
Many Kosovo Serbs fear that Belgrade will eventually give up its claim to Kosovo, once Serbia has EU membership, leaving Kosovo Serbs at the mercy of the ethnic Albanian government at Pristina.
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