In North Kosovo, Expect the Expected
More generally, there is a sense that Pristina has failed to uphold its end of the bargain by refusing to establish the Association/Community of Serb-majority Municipalities, A/CSM, one of the key elements of the now decade-old Brussels Agreement. For Kosovo Serbs, the A/CSM is a vital mechanism through which their community rights can be advanced.
Instead of engaging constructively with the issue, many in Pristina have resorted to misleading suggestions that it would constitute a Republika Srpska - one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's two entities and which regularly flirts with secession.
The A/CSM is one of the key prerequisites for unlocking a number of mutually reinforcing processes - including the return of Kosovo Serbs to Kosovo's institutions in the north and new elections for mayors with democratic legitimacy - that would immediately calm tensions and allow for a renewed focus on the recent agreement on a path to normalisation between Kosovo and Serbia.
Pristina, however, continues to ignore the requests and advice of the international community, including its most valued partner, the United States. Patience has been wearing thin, particularly with a unilateral approach to issues that ignores the channels established by the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. This latest episode, where the newly-elected mayors tried to enter municipal buildings in the north, appears to be the straw that broke the camel's back.
Kosovo Serbs protest in front of the municipality building in Leposavic while members of KFOR secure the area. Photo: BIRN/Adelina Ahmeti
Fundamental misconception about the north
The presence of Special Operations Units, SOUs, of the Kosovo Police in north Kosovo has, in particular, strained...