Kosovo’s president discusses tensions along northern border
Summary of story from Radio Free Europe, August 3, 2011
In an interview with Radio Free Europe, Kosovo’s president Atifete Jahjaga defends the government’s decision to establish control over checkpoints on the northern border, following recent clashes with ethnic Serbian nationalists.
NATO peacekeepers moved into the region on July 28.
When questioned by Radio Free Europe’s Kosovo Unit Editor in Chief, Arbana Vidishiqi, about current tensions in the region and the future of Kosovo’s relations with Serbia, Jahjaga said that:
“There is no choice other than the rule of law and the full implementation of constitutionality and legality across the entire territory of the Republic of Kosovo.
“It is in the best interests of all our citizens – in the interest of Kosovo and Serbia as well.”
Jahjaga further defended the government’s decision to take control of the border following problematic talks with Belgrade.
“The dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, which has begun in Brussels with EU mediation and is based on a UN General Assembly resolution, is intended to find practical solutions by which the life of ordinary citizens in the region can be improved.
“Serbia unilaterally decided not to continue the scheduled round of that dialogue, and there was no alternative left other than to implement reciprocity measures on trade and full control of the border, which is a constitutional obligation of Kosovo,” she said.
Jahjaga stressed that further dialogue “cannot touch the constitutional order or legality of Kosovo or of Serbia.”
The interview concluded with Jahjaga asserting that “people need to avoid 19th-century ideas regarding divisions and territorial rearrangements.
“Kosovo and Serbia should move toward EU integration by supporting one another, not by opposing each other.”