Serbian PM accuses Kosovo of triggering crisis

13:26, July 31, 2011      

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Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic Saturday accused officials in Pristina of fomenting a recent crisis between Serbia and Kosovo, the Serbian news agency Tanjug reported.

Cvetkovic told a special session of the Serbian parliament that the recent crisis was a result of "irresponsible and unilateral moves" of Pristina to assert full institutional control over Serb-dominated areas of Kosovo.

Cvetkovic also called for a "peaceful and democratic approach" toward the issues between Serbia and Kosovo, an autonomous Serbian province which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and deemed Pristina as its capital.

NATO troops were deployed at a border crossing on Thursday after Serbs from the region reportedly set it ablaze with firebombs, causing the death of a Kosovo police officer. The Serbs were protesting Pristina's ban on goods from Serbia and its attempts to put the border crossing under its direct control by deploying police there.

"The goal of the interim authorities in Pristina was to cause incidents and make Serbia's position more difficult, and in essence, to provoke Serbia to end the dialogue," Cvetkovic said, accusing Pristina of inciting the conflict in a bid to divert attention from a series of ongoing talks sponsored by the European Union.

While Kosovo has been recognized by some EU countries, the EU itself has not officially recognized Kosovo due to a lack of unanimity among its member states.

"Our main tool in the fight for Kosovo is dialogue and our policy is not to make a single move which would endanger the survival of Serbs in the province and the stability of the region," the prime minister said, reaffirming Serbia's official position it would never recognize Kosovo's independence and would not submit to any form of "blackmail" to do so.

Tanjug did not mention any response from Pristina.

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