If Thaci comes to Belgrade, he will be arrested

If Thaci comes to Belgrade, he will be arrested

Belgrade, April 20, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Milos Mitrovic

Serbian Government has officially informed Pristina authorities that Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister would be arrested if he comes to Belgrade to attend a regional meeting, Serbian media reported today. Last week Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said that Hashim Thaci would be put behind bars due to the arrest warrant which has been issued against him over his alleged responsibility for terrorist attacks.

Thaci was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1997; two years later, the sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Serbia.

Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said there’s no need for Thaci to come to Belgrade, while Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said today that the “state will act in accordance with the law” if Kosovo’s official arrives in Serbia.

Beta news agency reported that Serbian liaison officer in Pristina has received Kosovo’s authorities request for the approval of Thaci’s attendance at an NGO’s conference in Belgrade. “In accordance with the agreement on official visits”, Pristina was then informed that Thaci would be arrested if he arrives in Serbian capital, the agency quoted the source from the Serbian government.

Thaci has been invited to attend the conference “European integration of the Western Balkans”; the gathering is to be organised by the NGO Youth Committee for Education on April 24.

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said that the government would act “in accordance with the law” in case that Kosovo’s Deputy PM comes to Belgrade, recalling that the final judgment has been issued against him.

He denied the existence of any pressures on Serbia considering Thaci’s planned visit, adding that pressure would not “change anything”.

In 1990s Thaci was the political leader of the “Kosovo Liberation Army” (KLA), a paramilitary organisation. A report to the Council of Europe issued in December 2010 states that Thaci was the leader of the “Drenica Group” in charge of trafficking organs taken from Serbian prisoners.

Serbian officials, however, have accepted him as a partner in negotiations on normalisation of the relations between Belgrade and Pristina. In April 2013 Brussels Agreement between Belgrade and Pristina was initialed by Ivica Dacic, Serbian PM at a time and Thaci, who has been Kosovo’s PM.