Kosovo has called on the European Union to pressure Serbia to drop the international arrest warrants it has issued for former Kosovar guerrillas, including an ex-premier detained in France.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, Ramush Haradinaj, a guerrilla commander during the 1998-99 war against Serbian rule who served briefly as prime minister in 2004 and 2005, was arrested on January 4 and remanded in prison by a French court on January 5.
Serbia has charged him with murders of Serbs in the late 1990s war, while the majority of Kosovo’s 1.8 million population are opposed to any trials of ex-guerrillas they see as freedom fighters.
One security source in Pristina told Reuters that, in all, there were currently around 20 Kosovo citizens subject to Interpol Red Notice arrest warrants – mainly ex-members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) that fought Serbian security forces.
In an angry response, Pristina has called for a halt to EU-mediated normalisation talks between Belgrade and its former, mainly ethnic Albanian province. The talks are a precondition for both countries to make progress toward membership of the bloc.
Meanwhile, Kosovo cancelled a visit by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic to a mainly ethnic Serb town in Kosovo scheduled for January 6, the eve of Christian Orthodox Christmas Day.
A Serbian government official who asked not to be named told Reuters that Nikolic’s forward team was “harassed” at the border crossing and could not perform necessary security checks.
“The visit will not proceed as planned, this is likely related to the Haradinaj arrest,” the official said.