Bakoyannis report

The return of tensions in the north is seen as real

Based on the dimensions of the terrorist attack on September 24 in Banjska in Zveçan, the rapporteur for Kosovo in the Council of Europe, Dora Baokyannis, said that the risk of violence and other tensions remains real. Even in the Government of Kosovo, they have not excluded the destabilizing tendencies of Serbia at this stage, as they said that they have taken all measures to maintain peace in the north, inhabited mainly by Serbs.

The dimensions of the terrorist attack in Banjska of Zveçan and the links of the attackers with the official Belgrade were also mentioned in the report of the rapporteur for Kosovo, Dora Bakoyannis, which was voted on Wednesday in the Committee for Political Affairs of the Council of Europe.

Referring to the case of last September, the report emphasizes that the potential for violence remains real and that security in the north of Kosovo depends on three fundamental aspects - the protection of the rights of the Serbian community, the de-escalation of tensions and the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. .

"On September 24, 2023, a major security incident in Banjska resulted in the death of a Kosovo Police officer and three Serbian attackers. The seriousness of this attack, the consequences and the connections of the attackers with Belgrade proved enough that the risk of open violence in Kosovo is very real and that security depends on the protection of the rights of the Serbian community, the de-escalation of tensions and the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. , this report states.

It is also said that since Kosovo applied for membership in the Council of Europe, the security situation in the northern municipalities has worsened, parallel to the delays in the dialogue for the normalization of Kosovo-Serbia relations.

"Many events have contributed to a serious escalation of tensions including: land expropriations; the decision on the mandatory implementation of the use of Kosovo license plates; violent protests; resignations of Kosovo Serbs from the police, judiciary and administration; local elections which produced contested legitimacy; the use of special units by the Kosovo authorities for the tasks performed by the regular police and the implementation of the decision to introduce the euro for financial transactions", the report states.

The Government did not rule out Serbia's destabilization tendencies in this period, but added that they have taken the necessary measures to prevent the situation in the north from escalating.

"Whenever there have been tensions in the north of the country, they have been caused under the direction of Serbia, up to its direct involvement. Security institutions are and will continue to be in charge of preventing and dealing with any situation that poses a concern for the safety of our citizens. Serbia represents a constant threat to Kosovo as long as it does not distance itself from its past, maintains close ties with Russia and shares the position that it does not respect Kosovo's territorial integrity. Moreover, in recent times we have seen that Serbia, in coordination with the Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina, has raised the tension in this state as well, as a form of blackmail against the international community and as a form of threat to all the states of the region". said the spokesperson of the Government, Përparim Kryeziu.

The security expert, Fatmir Çollaku, has not ruled out the possibility of Serbia inciting new tensions.

"It is already publicly known since the director of the Kosovo Police warned that some criminal groups are being prepared which could challenge the security and legal order of the Republic of Kosovo. So, it is possible that we will be seriously challenged through these groups, but what will be the effect or the consequences they cause if they infiltrate the Republic of Kosovo, in the sense of interfering with the decision-making process for Kosovo's membership in the Council of Europe, but I think not they have influence", he said.

He added that the Government should be careful while waiting for the next two votes in the Council of Europe.

"The Republic of Kosovo should especially be careful at this stage, in the sense of avoiding any event or process that can be accepted by the local Serbs and even more so by Serbia as a provocation in that part of the country, i.e. a provocation of the security of the Serbs. the well-being of the Serbs. So, actions that incite riots should be avoided in any form or manner", said Çollaku.

Before the vote, the three institutional leaders sent a letter to the reporter Bakoyannis, where, among other things, they pledged to refrain from the use of special police and to take urgent measures to promote the reintegration of Kosovo Serbs.