Perhaps a step toward true de-escalation in Kosovo was achieved this week with the government of Kosovo confirming that it had agreed to scale down police forces in North Kosovo and that new elections would be scheduled for the fall. ‘
Following “intense” meetings in Bratislava between EU negotiator for Kosovo Miroslav Lacjak and Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Besnik Bislimi, Lajcak stated in a Tweet that he had “hed intense bilateral discussions today in Bratislava with [Bislimi] on de-escalation of the situation in North Kosovo, in line with the EU27 statement from 3 June, and the way forward in implementing all Dialogue Agreements. We agreed on first steps towards this goal.”
Serbs boycotted previous elections, but the Kosovo government upheld the results despite only 3.5 percent voter turnout. This resulted in violent riots and a heavy Kosovo police presence to ensure that three Albanian mayors could take new positions in districts heavily dominated by ethnic Serbs.
Now the ethnic-Albanian dominated police forces will be reduced, starting near the mayors’ offices, and new elections are in the cards.
A statement from the government of Kosovo, as cited by Radio Free Europe/RFE read as follows: “The government of Kosovo, through this public statement, backs the holding of early elections in the four municipalities after the summer season.”
Photo of Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Bislimi by Gov.pl, CC BY 3.0 PL <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/pl/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons.