PMs of Serbia and Kosovo clash at Western Balkan summit ceremonial dinner

PMs of Serbia and Kosovo clash at Western Balkan summit ceremonial dinner
By bne IntelliNews March 17, 2017

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic reportedly confronted his Kosovan counterpart at the ceremonial dinner during the Western Balkan Summit, over Pristina’s decision to re-register property formerly registered to Serbia and former Yugoslavia

Relations between Serbia and Kosovo have worsened recently and the normalisation process has stalled. Kosovan President Hashim Thaci recently added to tensions by filing a bill on the creation of a Kosovan army - which is strongly opposed by Serbia - to the parliament in Pristina. 

Regional media report that the dinner in Sarajevo was extremely tense and that Vucic and Kosovo’s Isa Mustafa nearly came to blows. 

"Why are you plundering Serb property?" Vucic yelled at the Kosovan prime minister, according to reports initially published in Croatian daily Jutarnji list and news portal Index. 

Serbian officials were angered by the previous day’s decision by Pristina to register all immovable property previously registered to the former Yugoslavia, Serbia, and the former Autonomous Province of Kosovo within Serbia - to Kosovo.

However, Vucic denied on March 16 there had been an incident between him and Mustafa. 

"It is decent and normal to ask a question. There were no problems - I just said to him at the dinner: 'Have you come up with it yourself, or someone else help you with the seizure of [Serbian] property?' I said the same today," Vucic told reporters, Tanjug reported.

According to the government’s March 16 statement, Vucic said that it was good that the prime ministers of the Western Balkan countries would adopt a declaration at the summit, but also expressed concern about conflicts that might happen afterwards.

He also asked the hosts not to refer to all those present as states, a reference to the fact Serbia does not recognise Kosovo, its former province, as an independent state. 

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