Pristina, 29 April 2008 – Kosovo is now secure enough for all displaced Kosovo Serbs to return, Pristina’s Minister for Returns says. Boban Stankovic said that for the moment, there is no obstacle for Serbs to return to their homes but also said it is important to ask them if they have the will to return.
“When I say conditions for return are ‘ripe’, this is based on the fact that over the last two years, there was no inter-ethnic incident in Kosovo,” Stankovic said, during a government meeting and added that “this proves that there are conditions for all displaced people to return.”
A large number of Kosovo Serbs as well as members of other communities, mainly Roma fled Kosovo or were displaced internally in other Serb-dominated areas within Kosovo, following the 1998-1999 conflict between the Albanian majority and Serb military forces.
The Ministry of Returns and Communities says that 17,000 out of the estimated 230,000 displaced persons have now returned to Kosovo.
Stankovic is one of two Serb ministers that hold posts in the governing cabinet of Kosovo.
“The Ministry is making a lot of effort despite its modest budget, to have as many displaced persons as possible return home, regardless of their ethnicity or religion,” Stankovic argued.