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17 July 2010  Source: Tanjug

PRIŠTINA -- Serbia's State Secretary for Kosovo Oliver Ivanović said that the temporary (Kosovo Albanian) institutions in Kosovo intentionally provoked Serbs in the north.

"We should all focus on creating several months of peace instead of constant political initiatives directed at northern Kosovo, because each incident sends us back to 1999. One-sided actions should be avoided because they are not beneficial," he said.

"That is why we use the presence of the international community, to help us better our relations," Ivanović said at a meeting held at the near Priština at which Serbian and Kosovo officials made a rare appearance together.

The state secretary rejected the claims of Kosovo authorities that Kosovska Mitrovica, an ethnically divided city in northern Kosovo, was the most troublesome area in Kosovo.

"Even though northern Kosovo is constantly mentioned as a place full of crime and corruption, the situation in the north is actually slightly better than in the rest of Kosovo. It is always easier to speak of crime in northern Kosovo than to deal with crime and corruption within one's own ranks, in the Kosovo government," Ivanović stated.

Kosovo's Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuqi also spoke at the meeting, which was organized by a non-governmental organization called the Kosovo Strategic Action Network.

He said that Kosovo had its own sovereignty and integrity.

According to Kuqi, the problems in the north are caused by Serbia's interference. He accused Serbia of hurting the interests of Kosovo Serbs by creating an illusion for them of still having links to Belgrade administratively.

The meeting was a long-awaited opportunity for dialogue between representatives of the Serbian government and the institutions in Kosovo.

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