Bulgaria Gravely Concerned about Unabating Kosovo-Serbia Tensions

Diplomacy | September 16, 2011, Friday // 20:01|  views

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Mladenov (left) pictured with his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic during a visit in Belgrade in 2010. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria is deeply about the continuing tensions between Kosovo and Serbia over the situation in the northern part of the new republic, according to Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov.

Mladenov's statement came Friday night after earlier on Friday the European Union's law-enforcing mission in Kosovo EULEX assumed control of the two contested border crossings amidst escalating tensions in the volatile ethnic Serbian enclave in the north of the new republic.

The control over the Jarinje and Brnjak crossings has been a bone of contention in the recent months as the ethnic Serbs populating the northern corner of Kosovo have been refusing allegiance to the ethnic-Albanian dominated government in Prishtina.

"Bulgaria remains concerned with the increasing tension over the course of the last few days," Mladenov said, adding, "EULEX, which has assumed Rule of Law responsibilities from UNMIK since 2008, acts in accordance with its executive mandate and must help implement the agreement regarding customs stamps reached in the framework of the EU facilitated Dialogue."

Bulgaria's top diplomat has recommended that "in order to decrease tensions both Belgrade and Pristina should refrain from actions or statements that may undermine progress already been achieved."

In his words, Bulgaria notes as "constructive" the intention of the Kosovo government to coordinate its actions with EULEX, KFOR and the international community.

"Bulgaria welcomes the pragmatic approach taken by both Kosovo and Serbia during their first meetings. It is important that they build on this momentum and continue to engage in a constructive and pragmatic manner. All must show restraint and prevent the build-up of tension. This is vital for the security, prosperity and – ultimately, for the European perspective of the region," the Bulgarian Foreign Minister declared.

Bulgaria, which was among the first 20 states to recognize the independence of Kosovo in 2008, has generally sought to balance its relations between Serbia and its former province, while also expanding its economic and diplomatic ties with the new republic.

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Tags: EULEX, kosovo, Prishtina, Belgrade, Serbia, border crossing, KFOR, Ivica Dacic, Hashim Thaci, Serbs, Northern Kosovo, Kosovska Mitrovica, EU, Nikolay Mladenov, Foreign Minister


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