Kosovo issues arrest warrant for Serb minister for illegal entry

Kosovo has issued an arrest warrant for a Serbian minister who entered the country illegally, a police spokesman said yesterday, a move that may hamper implementation of a deal to normalise ties between Pristina and Belgrade.

Pristina authorities said Aleksandar Vulin, the Serbian minister in charge of Kosovo, had visited ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo last week during campaigning for local elections next Sunday.

“We have received an arrest warrant on Vulin and we will act accordingly,” Kosovo police spokesman Brahim Sadriu said, without giving further details.

Serbia and Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, signed a landmark deal in April under which Belgrade agreed to cede its de facto hold over a small Serb-populated pocket of Kosovo, whose majority population is ethnic Albanian.

Under the deal, the northern Serb pocket is slated to take part in Kosovo’s municipal election on November 3.

In part as a reward for the deal, the EU is expected to open accession talks with Serbia in coming months.

Vulin, who is now back in Belgrade, could not be reached by telephone. A Serbian government spokesman declined to comment.

Earlier last week Serbia’s Blic daily quoted Prime Minister Ivica Dacic as saying that the arrest of Vulin would be a violation of the Brussels agreement mediated by the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

“(Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim) Thaci assured me himself in the presence of Ashton that Vulin can travel to Kosovo whenever and wherever he wants,” Dacic was quoted as saying.

Dacic himself visited Kosovo on October 19 and urged Serbs to take part in the municipal election.


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