Press release on the occasion of the announcement of the opening of a “military base” in South Mitrovica
Yesterday we received news from Mr. Agim Bakhtiri that the Assembly of the Municipality of South Mitrovica allocated 191 hectares of land on Crnuša/Cernusha hill to the Kosovo Security Forces for the purposes of building the “largest military base in Kosovo”. Crnuša/Cernusha hill is located in the immediate vicinity of the city at an altitude of 1010 meters, and from it, the territories of the municipalities of Severna Mitrovica/ Mitrovica e Veriut, Zvečan/Zveçan, Zubin Potok, Južna Mitrovica/Mitrovicës Jugore and Vučitrn/ Vushtrri can be monitored. According to Mr. Agim Bakhtiri, this base is “of strategic importance for the defense of every inch of Kosovo.”
Having in mind the sensitive nature of relations between Serbs and Albanians, the news caused anxiety among the citizens of the four northernmost municipalities.
New Social Initiative, as an organization dealing with relations between Serbs and Albanians, expresses concern over such announcements and insinuations by Kosovo authorities and urges the government to reconsider this decision, which can potentially further segregate the already divided communities in the Region of Mitrovica and increase fears Serb minority already has towards Kosovo institutions.
It is the responsibility of Kosovo institutions and the government to increase the level of trust of the Serb community towards them. Decisions like these do not send positive messages of the need of coexistence to the Serb community in northern Kosovo, on the contrary, they send message that the institutions do not trust them and see them as a threat rather than as citizens who are an integral part of society.
Finally, we call on international actors to be actively involved in solving this issue and use the influence on local political actors to solve the existing problems of relations between Serbs and Albanians in good faith and through dialogue, not by signaling that the problems should be solved through the engagement of security forces.
New Social Initiative