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Countries call on EU to remove measures against Kosovo

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Twelve countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom, are calling on the EU to end its temporary political and economic measures against Kosovo after months of violence led by its ethnic Serb population, according to Politico.

In a letter addressed to the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell and the special representative to the Western Balkans, Belgian, Irish and Croatian officials, among others, point to questions of Serbia’s role in the recent months of violence. They wrote: “The quantity and type of weaponry seized after the attack [in Banjska] raise serious questions over what role the Serbian state may have had in supporting the operation,” referring to an attack in a village that ethnic Serb gunmen stormed in September.

In April, elections were held in North Kosovo, where more than 90 percent of the population identify as Serbian and boycotted them, resulting in wins for ethnic Albanian mayors. With the aid of police, Kosovo installed the mayors, resulting in months of violent incidents, including ethnic Serbs attacking international peacekeeping forces, police and media.

The EU, in an uncharacteristically harsh move, adopted “reversible and temporary measures” against Kosovo, including the “suspension of high-level visits, contacts and events, as well as our financial cooperation.”

The hostility has been a setback in an already contentious relationship between the two countries, 25 years after NATO’s 10-week bombardment of Serbia after its forces carried out an ethnic cleansing campaign against Albanian Muslims in Kosovo. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo, a view shared by Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Romania, and Greece.

“It is vital that the international community reject irredentism and aggression and reaffirm support for Kosovo’s independence and sovereignty,” the signatories write, demanding “full cooperation” with the Kosovo government be resumed.

The 12 signatories are Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Italy and the U.K.