Serbian Defence minister, Aleksandar Vulin, said on Tuesday that Belgrade should seek a partition agreement with neighbouring Kosovo in order to end a dispute that is hampering Serbia's accession to the European Union.
Speaking at a round table on Kosovo, Vulin did not specify which part of the country he believes should be partitioned, but similar calls made in the past have pointed to northern Kosovo, Reuters reported. Separated from the rest of the country by the river Ibar, northern Kosovo is home to 50,000 ethnic Serbs who oppose Pristina and still look to Belgrade as their government. More than 90 percent of Kosovo's 1.8 million population is of Albanian descent. "Permanent and firm delimitation between Serbs and Albanians must be established in Kosovo," Vulin told the round table of experts convened as part of a national dialogue on Kosovo.
Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has previously suggested partition as a possible solution to the territorial dispute, but it is not government policy. Under a 2013 EU-brokered deal Belgrade, Pristina agreed to give Serb enclaves in Kosovo more autonomy and grant protected status to Orthodox monasteries. Most Kosovo Albanians oppose these measures, fearing Serbia's influence. Belgrade says Pristina has failed to abide by the agreement. Kosovo officials deny this.