President Tadić told the UN Security Council today that Serbia “will have no choice but to reassess its relations with the international presence in Kosovo and Metohija unless the international factors deny further support to Pristina's destabilizing acts.” He said that only way to maintain stability in Kosovo is to implement the UN Secretary General's six-point plan for achieving practical cooperation in Kosovo that was the basis of the UN's agreement to pass its responsibility for law and order in Kosovo to EULEX in November 2008.
President Tadić made his clearest and toughest challenge to Quint efforts to impose Pristina's rule on the northern Serbs. He said last Friday's grenade attack on Serbs protesting the opening of a Kosovo government office in the northern part of Mitrovica was aimed at increasing ethnic tensions and sabotaging efforts for a peaceful solution. “It was yet another destructive consequence of a sinister plan, sponsored in part by the so-called International Civilian Office headed by Pieter Feith, to unilaterally impose an illegal and unwanted regime in that part of our province.” Tadić emphasized that Belgrade will not accept any efforts by Pristina to “unilaterally impose offices, courthouses and telecommunications infrastructure in the local Serbian communities.” As to who was directly responsible for the attack, he said two devices were thrown at the protesting Serbs from courtyards of Albanian homes in the mixed Bosniac Mahala area.
Meanwhile, Kosovo's Interior Minister – hopefully playing more for domestic political gain than anything the international supporters would actually permit – said the Albanian side remains "determined to continue the implementation” of the plan for imposing its institutions on the north. The Minister reportedly said that the plan would move ahead despite Belgrade's resistance and without regard to any protests against it.
On Monday in north Mitrovica, a bullet was reportedly found fired at a car belonging to a Tanjug reporter. UNMIK chief Lamberto Zannier reportedly expressed concern to the UNSC over the latest incidents in northern Kosovo and noted that the situation there is more tense than usual.
Whatever the results of the UNSC considerations – whether for example some move is made to take back the November 2008 transfer of mandate to EULEX in favor of a more direct UN role in peacekeeping along the Ibar – the recent incidents have widened the gulf between Belgrade and the northern Serbs on one hand and with the pro-Pristina internationals on the other. The northern Serbs themselves may be less likely to squabble among themselves or listen to the “benefits” that the EU can bring them by easing their way into control from Pristina. Further unilateral moves by the Albanians and their friends can only lead to more violence or more partition. The only way to avoid this is to keep the peace through seeking status-neutral solutions to practical problems and keeping the two sides, for now, as far apart as otherwise practical.