Just days before the 4th anniversary of the Kosovo Albanians’ declaration of independence minority Serbs are voting in a referendum on whether to recognise the government the Albanian majority established.
The 35,000 Serbs who live in a tiny northern enclave in Kosovo, and who want reunification with Serbia, will almost certainly reject the motion..
The mayor of the Serb part of the divided city of Mitrovica said the vote would send a message to Kosova Albanians, and to Belgrade politicians who are making conciliatory moves towards the authorities in Pristina.
The Serb government, which is trying advance its aims of joining the EU, has been taking small steps to improve relations with Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leadership, recognising travel documents and car registration plates.
The outcome of the referendum, will change little it seems. As one Albanian man in Mitrovica put it:
“Serbs have organised many referendums in the past, but they’ve never worked. No one can take that area from us. Our government has said there will be no division. This area has always been part of Kosovo.”
Belgrade has urged the Kosovo Serbs not to go ahead with the ballot, describing at as a waste of time – a stance that has left many of them feeling betrayed and isolated as never before.