Dividing wall torn down in Kosovo’s Mitrovica

By bne IntelliNews February 4, 2017

A wall dividing the ethnic Albanian and Serb communities in Mitrovica, northern Kosovo, was demolished on February 5. 

North Mitrovica, part of Mitrovica city in northern Kosovo, was established in 2013 after tensions escalated between the two ethnic communities. The southern part of Mitrovica is populated with Kosovo's Albanians. The demolition of the wall, carried out as a confidence-building measure, is expected to ease tensions between two ethnic communities, which have risen since the start of this year. 

The city council of the Kosovan municipality of North Mitrovica, populated mainly by Serbs, took the historic decision to tear down the wall on February 4. The decision of the North Mitrovica council was adopted unanimously.

“For the sake of peace and stability Kosovan councillors decided to vote in favour of this decision,” Emir Azemi from the city council was quoted by broadcaster RTK.

Senior Kosovan officials, including President Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister Isa Mustafa hailed the move. 

"The divisive wall near the bridge in Mitrovica is down. As we agreed with EU representative [Federica] Mogherini we must work to build bridges not walls. Dialogue works!” Thaci said in a Tweet

In place of the wall, concrete pillars will be built to prevent the movement of vehicles and to enable the area where the wall was situated to be turned into a pedestrian zone.

The decision was possible thanks to the 2014 Brussels agreement struck between the Serbian and Kosovan governments, mediated by European Union representatives.

 

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