Kosovo Serbs establish own Assembly in defiance to Belgrade and Pristina

Leaders of newly created Parliament say Kosovar institutions are illegal, move best way to protect Kosovo status within Serbia, vow to boycott November election to Community of Serb Municipalities · Belgrade says new institution will not help Kosovo Serbs

Kosovo Serb leaders yesterday established the interim Assembly of Kosovo and Metohija, a political structure that falls outside of the state institutions both of the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. Members of the newly created parliament argue that Kosovar institutions are illegal and say that the agreement that was signed between Pristina and Belgrade in April falls outside the Constitution of Serbia. According to them, the establishment of the Asseembly of Kosovo and Metohija is the best way to protect Kosovo Serbs and to keep Kosovo within the Serbian state.

According to the Pristina-Belgrade deal, Kosovo Serbs will elect representatives to the Community of Serb Municipalities (nothing to do with the Assembly of Kosovo and Metohija) next November. The Community will be under the rule of Kosovar institutions, and will enjoy partial self-government in areas such as economic development, education, health, urban and rural planning.

But leaders of several Serb-majority municipalities in North Kosovo have vowed not to abide by the agreement, and promise instead to rule the territory through the Assembly established yesterday. Serbian newspaper Politika explains that the Assembly is led by members of three different Serbian parties: the Socialist Party of Serbia, the Serbian Progressive Party and the Serbian Radical Party.

The leaders of the new Assembly have promised to boycott the November elections to the Community.

Meanwhile, the Serbian government is against the move. Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic yesterday said that the establishment of the Assembly of Kosovo and Metohija will not help Kosovo Serbs' interests, B92 reports. Dacic is currently negotiating Serbia's path towards the European Union. Accession negotiations and a settlement for the Kosovo issue are intertwined processes in the relationship between Belgrade and Brussels.

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