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Serbia Tries to Rally Support Against Creation of Kosovo Army

Belgrade is looking for international allies ahead of mid-December vote, arguing that a new military could be used against Serbian minority in Kosovo.

5 December 2018

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (pictured) met separately with Russian and Chinese ambassadors to his country yesterday in an attempt to gain the two countries on his side against Kosovo’s endeavor to create its own army, according to Radio Free Europe. Neither Serbia, nor Russia or China recognizes Kosovo’s independence from Belgrade, which Pristina declared in 2008.

 

"The irresponsible behavior of Pristina could lead into a catastrophe because Serbia cannot peacefully watch the destruction of the Serbian people," Vucic said in a statement, as quoted by RFE.

 

Vucic added that “continuous provocations” from Kosovo leave Serbia with no choice but to “protect” the Serb minority, writes AP.

 

Pristina’s parliament is to hold a vote on the creation of the army in mid-December. The initial vote, held in October, passed with 98 votes out of 120 in favor of transforming the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) into a regular army, Deutsche Welle reports. At that time, the parliament’s 11 ethnic Serbian members abstained from the vote, which was heavily criticized in Belgrade. Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said in a statement cited by Deutsche Welle that the only armed forces in Kosovo must be NATO-led peacekeepers, and that a Kosovo army would "threaten Serbia and the Serbs."   

 

The vote comes in the midst of escalating tensions between the two countries. Last month, Kosovo imposed 100 percent tariffs on Serbian goods in a decision that came after Pristina’s latest failure to join the world police organization Interpol, which Pristina blamed on Serbia’s interference. Serbia is the single biggest source of imports into Kosovo, followed by Germany.

 

 

  • Another Balkan nation has recently become the only NATO member country to appoint a woman as its army chief of staff. Major General Alenka Ermenc became the head of the Slovenian army last week, after a military career that began in 1991, the year of Slovenia’s independence from Yugoslavia, according to the BBC.

 

  • Vucic also met with the American ambassador, AP writes. The United States does recognize Kosovo’s independence.

Compiled by Ioana Caloianu

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