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Pristina, Belgrade Condemn Attack On Ethnic Serb Pilgrims In Kosovo

Senior officials in Pristina and Belgrade have strongly condemned an attack on buses carrying ethnic Serb pilgrims to a monastery in eastern Kosovo.

Reports said unknown assailants threw stones at two buses heading to an Orthodox Christian monastery in the village of Studenica on October 21. No injuries were reported.

Kosovar President Hashim Thaci said any violation of the people’s right to freedom of movement and religion was “unacceptable” and called on police to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Kosovo and its institutions are committed to peace and stability and any kind of attack on citizens is an attack on our joint European values, and as such it is harmful for our republic,” Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said.

In Belgrade, the head of the Serbian government office for Kosovo, Marko Djuric, said that “Europe must not remain blind and passive when facing the expansion of extremism and religious radicalism in Kosovo.”

The OSCE Mission in Pristina expressed concern over the incident, saying “society as a whole has a responsibility to preserve and uphold the principles of tolerance and good intercommunity relations.”

Ties between Pristina and Belgrade have been tense since Serbia’s former province declared independence in 2008.

The two sides in 2013 committed to EU-mediated talks to resolve their differences, but little progress has been made.

With reporting by Balkan Insight