Kosovo Serbs protest against EU mission
03.10.08 @ 09:27
Hundreds of Kosovo Serbs protested on Thursday (2 October) against the deployment of the EU's police and justice mission EULEX in Kosovo, whose independence they do not accept.
"Serbs are against the deployment of EULEX, because it is a mission of occupiers, whose goal is to take away the land we live on, our homes, steal our youth and the childhoods of our children," said Marko Jaksic, the vice chairman of the Assembly of Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo, Serbian news portal B92.net reports.
The deployment of the EULEX police and civilian administration team in Kosovo has suffered several delays so far and only some 300 of the planned 2,200 people are currently on the ground, with the plan being that they all deploy by the end of the year.
Kosovo Serbs - estimated to be around 120,000 - oppose the move, especially in the predominantly Serb-inhabited areas, and say that beefing up the Serbian state institutions in Kosovo would be the most appropriate response to Kosovo independence.
"Strengthening the Serbian institutions in Kosovo is the best answer to the attempt of creating an independent Kosovo," Mr Jaksic said.
The Thursday protest, which gathered between 1,000 and 2,000 people according to different media reports, took place in three different towns with no violent incidents reported, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, a report released by the UN Development Programme on Thursday showed that more than 60 percent of Kosovo Serbs are worried about their personal safety.
Tadic does not exclude Kosovo partition
Kosovo declared unilateral independence from Serbia in February, but Serbia - supported by Russia - does not recognise the new situation and still considers Kosovo part of its territory.
So far, 47 states worldwide - including the US and most EU countries - have recognised Kosovo as an independent state.
Belgrade is seeking a legal opinion on the move from the International Court of Justice.
Earlier this week Serbian president Boris Tadic told state broadcaster RTS that he is "prepared to consider" the option of dividing Kosovo along ethnic lines, if all other possibilities to deal with the issue are exhausted.
"There are still a lot of possibilities to find a solution within the concept of substantial autonomy. But, if we exhaust every possibility, then we can move to that option," he added.