U.S. ambassador accosted amid Kosovo vote
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013, 9:12 p.m.
PRISTINA, Kosovo — Hardline opposition supporters tried but failed to stop Kosovo lawmakers from approving a key deal with Serbia on Thursday — with hundreds clashing with police outside parliament, lawmakers scuffling with the body's speaker inside, and some protesters even attacking the U.S. ambassador as she tried to enter the building.
The developments underscored the deep passions that arise in this tiny country over any deal with a neighboring state that still refuses to recognize Kosovo's independence.
The agreement, which passed on an 84-3 vote, will have Serbia call off parallel security structures in the Serb-run north of Kosovo and encourage northern Kosovo's Serb population to work with the ethnic Albanian leadership in Pristina in exchange for more self-governance. The accord does not, however, resolve the dispute over Kosovo's 2008 secession from Serbia.
Kosovo police used pepper spray and batons to disperse a crowd of several hundred hardline opposition supporters who tried to stop lawmakers from holding the vote. Dozens of people were detained by police in riot gear outside government buildings.
U.S. Ambassador Tracey Jacobson “was physically accosted by protesters” blocking entrances to the assembly building, the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo said in a statement, adding, “We deplore the use of violent tactics in obstructing the democratic process.”
“Vetevendosje tried to stop us, but we got in on our second attempt! #bruised,” Jacobson tweeted, using the Albanian name for Self-Determination, an opposition group that is against talks with Serbia and has 12 seats in the 120-seat parliament.
Many lawmakers, including Self-Determination members, did not vote Thursday, but there were enough who did to meet the necessary quorum and pass the deal, which still requires the president's signature.
Members of Self-Determination unfolded banners during the process suggesting the deal gives Kosovo territory to Serbia. And some in the group scuffled with the speaker of Parliament to try to prevent the vote from taking place, but security intervened and removed them.
Belgrade does not recognize Kosovo's statehood and still officially claims the territory as part of Serbia. But both sides hope they will eventually qualify for membership in the European Union and see the agreement as a token of goodwill to overcome their differences.
Serbia's brutal crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians in Kosovo was halted after NATO's 78-day air war in 1999, which forced Belgrade to give up control of the territory.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Western Pennsylvania engineer aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight
- Ukrainian leader will meet Obama in U.S.
- Ukrainian leader will meet Obama in U.S.
- ‘Dead’ Mexican drug kingpin Moreno likely killed in shootout, official says
- Toronto mayor’s staff in dark on daylight saving
- Suicide car bomb, attacks kill at least 42 in Iraq
- Saudis name terrorist groups
- Israel: Iranian shipment contained 40 rockets
- Syrian rebels reportedly release nuns held since December
- Libya says its forces near oil tanker
- Russia sets Ukraine agenda with diplomacy, threats