Serbia’s president Boris Tadic has spoken against a referendum planned by north Kosovan Serbs to decide whether to recognise the Kosovo Albanian-dominated government.
Talks brokered by the European Union resulted in improved relations between Pristina and Belgrade, but Kosovo’s 10 percent of ethnic Serbs may jeopardise the relationship with the referendum.
Speaking at a news conference in Belgrade, Tadic said the referendum was pointless: “This sort of vote essentially doesn’t contribute to the cause because the world already knows that Serbs, especially those in the north, don’t accept Pristina institutions. So this kind of referendum is extremely unnecessary.”
The vote is seen as an act of defiance against the Serbian government which many of the 40,000 Serbs in northern Kosovo feel has gone too far in the Belgrade-Pristina talks.
Kosovan Serb Marko Dimic, who is in favour of the vote planned for February 14 and 15, said: “The aim of the referendum is just to show the international community and the ethnic Albanians that we are against this ethnic Albanian government in Pristina.”
However, another Kosovan Serb woman supported Tadic’s stand. “I’m against the referendum because Serbia is against it,” she said.
Kosovo, whose population is 90 percent ethnic Albanian, declared its independence in 2008 – an act not recognised by Serbia. Kosovan Serbs continue to pledge their allegiance to Belgrade.