Thousands of Serbs took to the streets of Mitrovica, to protest against a UN plan that would allow Kosovo supervised independence from Belgrade. They say the province is their historic heartland and should remain within Serbian borders. Serb leaders hope Russia will use its veto power to block the proposal when the UN Security Council considers it later this year.
Similar protests are scheduled across the region over the next ten days. In Pristina, however, it seemed Serbs had won a short reprieve. After meeting Albanian leaders in the province, a UN mediator said final talks on its status, will now be delayed another week.
Belgrade has asked for time to convene a parliament after inconclusive elections in January, so lawmakers can appoint delegates for the negotiations. Mediator Albert Rohan made a plea for patience: “We ask for understanding to the team of unity, that we want to give the Serbian side the chance to come to Vienna.”
Russia says the UN proposal should be a basis for more discussions, not pushed through as a solution. But the draft plan’s author, Martti Ahtisaari, says Serbs and Albanians are diametrically opposed on the issue. He says he doubts the two will ever agree.