Kosovo and Serbia relations still "not at ease": UN special envoy

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Zahir Tanin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), briefs the Security Council. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Relations between Kosovo and Serbia are still "not at ease" with both sides trading inflammatory statements, the UN Security Council heard on Tuesday.

Zahir Tanin, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General briefed on the latest developments, expanding on the widening rift between the Serbian government in Belgrade, and the Kosovan capital, Pristina.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a move that has been recognized by more than 100 Member States. The two were part of the former Yugoslavia before it broke up in the 1990s.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

A European Union-facilitated dialogue, triggered by Serbia's refusal to recognize Kosovo's declaration of independence, has been suspended for months, the UN special envoy to Kosovo, Zahir Tanin, told members of the Security Council on Tuesday.

The aim of the dialogue is to normalize relations between the Serbian government in Belgrade and the Kosovan capital in Pristina.

Unfortunately, he noted, politicians on both sides have "descended back to intolerant and ethnic slogans."

"The situation in Kosovo remains "generally stable" and escalation has been avoided in several instances due to external diplomatic interventions but the necessary level of trust between Pristina and Belgrade has been further eroded by a number of irresponsible and inflammatory statements. Both sides repeatedly accused one another of provocation whereas the process of normalization of relations requires cooperation."

Mr Tanin, who also heads the UN Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, seized the opportunity to express his shock over an attack on a prominent media figure, Arban Xharra, who recently entered politics.

He called for a "full and swift" investigation into the incident.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’18″

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