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Serbia denounces EU mission head in Kosovo

Serbia denounces EU mission head in Kosovo

A top Serbian official denounced the newly appointed EU representative in Kosovo Saturday, saying his presence there was illegal and represented an affront to the United Nations.
Branislav Ristivojevic, an adviser to the Serbian prime minister, said Belgrade had no idea who Pieter Feith represented or "who authorized him to come to Kosovo, what is the legal basis for his presence in Kosovo, nor in what capacity he is attempting to deal with Belgrade."
Serbia already has lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations against the establishment this week of a 15-nation International Steering Group for Kosovo whose mission is to help guide the new nation's democratic development.
The group appointed Feith as the International Civilian Representative for Kosovo. He is also the European Union's representative in Kosovo, and heads the 1,800-strong mission which the bloc plans to deploy there to replace the U.N. administration.
Serbia and its ally Russia strongly oppose the move, noting that the U.N. Security Council had not authorized the switch from the U.N. mission to the EU mission.
Neither nation has recognized Kosovo's declaration of independence last month, which was immediately recognized by the United States and many EU nations.
On Friday, Feith said in the Kosovo capital of Pristina he would not bow to Serbia's pressure aimed at hindering the deployment of an EU mission in the new nation, despite threats from minority Serbs to boycott and obstruct its work.
He also accused Belgrade of striving for a de facto division of Kosovo, because the region's northern areas adjoining Serbia are dominated by the Serb minority.
"The self-styled and the illegal presence (in Kosovo) is the worst possible demonstration of the policy of force which makes a mockery of the authority of the United Nations," Ristivojevic said.
Serbia says that the establishment of an EU mission represents an attempt to circumvent U.N. Resolution 1244 which in 1999 formally recognized Serbia's sovereignty while simultaneously placing Kosovo under a U.N. interim administration backed up by NATO-led forces.
Russia, too, has dismissed it as illegal. Moscow insists that Resolution 1244 remains in force and the U.N. mission there cannot be replaced by the 1,800-strong EU team.


Updated : 2021-06-13 01:58 GMT+08:00