Kosovo president visits disputed area
Kosovo’s president made a rare visit on Saturday to a disputed, mainly ethnic Serb area in the north of the country, angering Belgrade just three weeks after Serbia’s president infuriated Pristina by visiting the same area.
“Let’s work together for a new Kosovo…Kosovo is one, unique, independent and a sovereign country,” President Hashim Thaci told Kosovo media at Lake Gazivode, an artificial lake in a mainly ethnic Serb area. Serbia’s President Alexander Vucic had visited the lake on Sept. 8.
The fate of ethnic Serb villages in northern Kosovo is one of the main issues of disagreement between Serbia and Kosovo, a former province of Serbia which declared independence after Serbian forces were driven out by NATO bombing in a war in 1999.
Both sides have said they could agree to swapping Kosovo territory populated by Serbs for Serbian territory populated by Albanians. However, expectations of such a deal dimmed in recent weeks after a meeting between Thaci and Vucic was abruptly canceled. Vucic toured the disputed area the next day.
In the meantime there was a protest against Kosovo President Hashim Thaci proposal on border correction with Serbia. According to reports, Thaci raised the issue of a border correction with Serbia, which opposition fear would include a possible territory swap