Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic has announced that his government will reject a demanded EU proposal for the recognition of Kosovar independence, saying they cannot accept the deal without any specific promises of protection for ethnic Serbs living in Kosovo.
The EU has given Serbia a deadline for today to accept Kosovo as part of its accession into the union, but after last week’s talks failed no deal was possible. Serbia says it wants an “urgent resumption” of talks on the matter.
Kosovo was part of Serbia until a 1999 NATO invasion, after which NATO announced Kosovo would be independently managed. The new government is dominated by ethnic Albanians in southern Kosovo, who are at odds with the ethnic Serbs in the north, who never wanted to leave Serbia in the first place and are now angry that they are barred from trading with and traveling to nearby towns across the border.
The EU has been of the attitude that the ethnic Serb’s opposition to being part of Kosovo is irrelevant, and that the borders that NATO set in 1999 are eternal and non-negotiable. The Kosovo government has taken a dim view of any attempts by Kosovar Serbs to trade with Serbia, and have sought to militarize the border and shut all the highways in the region.
Serbia pushed a compromise at last week’s conference wherein the border would remain unchanged but the Kosovar Serbs would enjoy an Iraqi Kurdistan style level of autonomy. With the EU’s deadline close, the Kosovo government rejected any compromise out of hand and demanded the Serbs accept the situation unconditionally.