Serbian Parliament Calls for Dialogue, Compromise With Kosovo

Posted July 31st, 2011 at 11:20 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The Serbian parliament has passed a resolution calling for more dialogue with Kosovo to reach a compromise in a trade dispute that escalated into deadly violence last week.

Serbian lawmakers approved the resolution early Sunday, with a majority of 181 votes in the 250-member assembly.

The violence erupted late Monday last week, when special forces of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian government seized two border crossings in Serb-dominated northern regions to enforce a ban on imports from Serbia. Kosovo's government imposed the ban earlier this month in retaliation for Serbia's blocking of Kosovo imports.

Northern Kosovo Serbs confronted the ethnic Albanian security forces, triggering an exchange of gunfire that killed one ethnic Albanian policeman and wounded several other people. NATO peacekeepers intervened, taking control of the two border posts on Thursday under an agreement with the Kosovo government, which pulled out its special police.

Serbian President Boris Tadic said Sunday he believes the Kosovo government's brief seizure of the crossings is part of a scheme to change northern Kosovo's demographic balance. Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci accuses Belgrade of masterminding the violence.

In remarks to the Serbian lawmakers, Mr. Tadic said Belgrade will not wage a war in response to the unrest and believes there is no alternative to peace. He said previous wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The outbreak of violence in northern Kosovo is one of the most serious in the region since Kosovo's 2008 secession from Serbia.