Crisis Group calls for Serbs' inclusion

BRUSSELS, May 12 (UPI) -- Kosovo leaders' inclusion of Serb minorities could assure the country's stability and independence, a report from the International Crisis Group said.

The Belgium-based non-governmental organization suggested in the report that the Serbian government, which has not recognized Kosovo's independence, has been financing parallel institutions in Kosovo in an attempt to isolate Serb minorities from Kosovo's government.


The report, released Tuesday, suggests the global economic downturn is having a negative impact on Serbia's attempts at undermining Kosovo's independence, Crisis Group reported.

The report, "Serb Integration in Kosovo: Taking the Plunge," calls on Kosovo leaders to strengthen ties to Serb populations and ensure the minority group has a place in the country. The Crisis Group said an inclusive approach to Serb minorities combined with weakened influence from the Serbian government could ensure stability and independence in Kosovo.

"Belgrade's approach has become more difficult to sustain because its budget is under strain from the global economic crisis, and the parallel institutions it has set up for Serbs in Kosovo are rife with corruption," Srdjan Djeric, Crisis Group Balkans analyst, said in a statement.

"Belgrade has been paying salary supplements for public-sector workers as an inducement for them remain in Kosovo, but it has been forced to cut back, thus reducing its leverage and control. This is an opportunity for the Pristina government."


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