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KOSOVO 14-15 Feb 2012 Kosovo Serbs plan referendum on Kosovo laws

The Serbs of northern Kosovo, 90 per cent of which is occupied by ethnic Albanians, plan a referendum on whether to accept the Albani

February 14, 2012 - NULL

KOSOVO 14-15 Feb 2012 Kosovo Serbs plan referendum on Kosovo laws

The Serbs of northern Kosovo, 90 per cent of which is occupied by ethnic Albanians, plan a referendum on whether to accept the Albanian-dominated government of the Serbian province. Serbia and Kosovo's Serbs reject the 2008 declaration of independence by Pristina, but Belgrade has criticized the referendum plan because it could set back the country's European Union aspirations.

Belgrade's efforts to buttress Kosovo's Serbs are at odds with its push to secure candidate status for the European Union. The bid is conditional, in part, on mending fences with

KOSOVO 14-15 Feb 2012 Kosovo Serbs plan referendum on Kosovo laws

The Serbs of northern Kosovo, 90 per cent of which is occupied by ethnic Albanians, plan a referendum on whether to accept the Albanian-dominated government of the Serbian province. Serbia and Kosovo's Serbs reject the 2008 declaration of independence by Pristina, but Belgrade has criticized the referendum plan because it could set back the country's European Union aspirations.

Belgrade's efforts to buttress Kosovo's Serbs are at odds with its push to secure candidate status for the European Union. The bid is conditional, in part, on mending fences with Pristina. The two sides have found some areas of agreement, but Kosovo's Serbs see any agreement as tantamount to the recognition of independent Kosovo, according to Reuters.

The Kosovo Serbs have blockaded roads since the summer of 2011 in an effort to resist Pristina's efforts to extend its authority all the way to the border. The EU's police mission, EULEX, and NATO peacekeepers have backed up the push. Dozens have been wounded.

Serbia lost control over Kosovo in 1999 when NATO bombed for 78 days to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanians in a two-year counter-insurgency war under then-President Slobodan Milosevic.

Most EU member states recognize Kosovo's independence. The United States, among other countries, does not. (Written Dec 2011)

RELATED READING:
Serbian President Criticizes Kosovo Referendum Plan (RFERL 30 Dec 2012)
http://www.rferl.org/content/serbia_president_tadic_criticizes_kosovo_referendum_plan/24438621.html

Kosovo Serbs call referendum on recognizing Pristina (Reuters 29 Dec 2012)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/29/us-kosovo-serbs-referendum-idUSTRE7BS0DB20111229

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Date written/update: 2012-02-14