Kosovo : Kosovo and Serbia recently signed a landmark agreement, but protests have been on a rise ever since by many Kosovo leaders against the deal with Serbia. Opposition MP of Kosovo parliament, Albin Kurti set off tear gas in parliament last week over the deal between Kosovo and Serbia. He was taken into questioning for this act by police, but later released yesterday. The arrest triggered further protests by supporters of opposition leaders. The agitators today violently protested and raised voive against the police on Kurti’s arrest. Demonstrators in Kosovo’s capital Pristina threw petrol bombs and stones at police in a protest over the arrest of opposition MP Albin Kurti. About 200 protesters chanted Kurti’s name as they threw missiles at the ranks of police officers. Police retaliated, fired tear gas and advanced in an attempt to push the protesters back.
Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians broke away from Serbia in an armed revolt in 1999, and then unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Belgrade rejected the move and still considers the breakaway territory as its southern province. Later, Kosovo split from Serbia in 2008 supported by a Nato bombing campaign against Belgrade, which did force Serbia to get off the state, but Kosovo could not get an official recognition by Serbia.
Under the April 2013 Brussels Agreement, Serbia did not accept Kosovo’s independence but agreed to co-operate in ways that would allow it to operate more like a sovereign state. Since then, the road of progress has been soewhat patch-worked. Step by step, however the situation advanced and reached a stage recently when finally talks regained their momentum and the landmark deal between Serbia and Kosovo got signed. Both sides have stated that more or less, they have got what they wanted from the latest deal. Kosovo’s foreign minister claimed it was a de facto recognition of independence. Serbia’s prime minister said it ensured representation for ethnic-Serbs in Kosovo. It should also mean Serbia can now move forward with its negotiations to join the EU.
Kosovo has a majority Albanian population, but under the new agreement – 10 areas with large Serb populations will be able to manage issues such as the local economy and education. Both sides aspire to join the EU. From Serbia’s EU perspective, it relies on implementing a 2013 EU-brokered agreement on normalizing ties with its southern neighbor. The EU-brokered agreement grants more powers to the prominent Serb areas of Kosovo. Opposition MPs say it will deepen the ethnic divide and increase Serbia’s power in the country, hence the protests.