Kosovo PM resignation dismissed as ‘trick’ by Serb president
The surprise resignation of Kosovo’s prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, ahead of questioning by a court in the Hague, is a “political trick”, according to the Serbian president.
Aleksandar Vucic said the resignation was designed to rally popular support and could fuel ethnic tensions in the former Serbian province.
In 2005 he was acquitted of war crimes due to lack of evidence, amid rumours that witnesses had been intimated and even murdered. When Haradinaj returned to Kosovo he was greeted as a national hero.
Kosovo declared independence in 2008 but is not recognised by Belgrade and its allies, Russia and China. Talks between the neighbours being mediated by the European Union stalled in 2018 over Kosovo’s decision to impose a 100-per-cent tariff on Serb goods.
Vucic said talks would resume when the tax was scrapped.
“We fear that political developments in Kosovo lead to further delay of talks and dialogue with Pristina,” Vucic told the media. “The resignation of Ramush Haradinaj is a political trick so he can gain more popularity and crush political opponents.
“I rejoice, in a way a kind of satisfaction, due to the fact that Ramush Haradinaj was summoned by the court. However, there is no reason to get excited about it. We will assess all the facts and consequences of this act, in particular with regards to the relations between Serbs and Albanians, and the attitude of the international community towards Serbia and its people on Kosovo,” the Serb leader added.
Serbia accuses Haradinaj of war crimes against Serbs in Kosovo. The prime minister has been prosecuted and acquitted twice by a UN war crimes tribunal.
Haradinaj said he agreed to be interviewed next week at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, which has an international staff.
Kosovo agreed to set up the court in 2015 in response to allegations that the Kosovo Liberation Army committed war crimes between 1998 and 2000.
Haradinaj was one of the leading KLA commanders during the war with Serbia.
The leader of Alliance for the Future of Kosovo party, Haradinaj came to power in 2017 after a parliamentary election.
Haradinaj’s government coalition, made up of so-called “war-wing” parties, was unstable from its formation in 2017.
It has faced hostility from Serbia, corruption allegations and high domestic unemployment. A premature collapse of the coalition appeared a strong possibility.
Serb prisioners in 1999. The Kosovo war of independence still dominates the breakaway state’s politics. Picture credit: Wikimedia