During a one-day visit to northern Kosovo, bordering his country, Serbia’s prime minister on Monday stressed peace and tolerance against a backdrop of recent tensions.
“Today, I want to send a clear and simple message of peace, stability, and tolerance from Kosovo and Metohija, and repeat the message of the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, that we will always be with our people in Kosovo and Metohija,” said Ana Brnabic in her first public address – but using Serbia’s old name for Kosovo, from when it was once part of Serbia, a name Kosovo rejects as offensive.
Many citizens greeted Brnabic with Serbian flags during her first-ever visit to Kosovo at a multimedia center built with Serbian government funds. Northern Kosovo has a large ethnic Serbian population.
The crowd held banners reading “Welcome Prime Minister” and “Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija always stand by the Serbian state.”
”We will continue to fight for our people, their dignity, and to see prosperity and an increasingly better quality of life here in Kosovo and Metohija,” said Brnabic.
Saying she intends to push for a new union of Serbian municipalities in Kosovo, she said: “That is what we will continue to insist on every day.”
Brnabic also called on Serbs to be united, saying that only unity can help Serbs in Kosovo.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, with most UN member states, including the US, UK, France, Germany, and Türkiye, recognizing it as a separate autonomous country from its neighbor.
Serbia continues to see Kosovo as its territory.
This summer Kosovo narrowly averted a crisis over license plates and ID cards having to bear markings of Kosovo until a compromise was reached.