Kosovo's outgoing PM: Lifting taxes on Serbia's goods will be tragic mistake

Kosovo's outgoing PM: Lifting taxes on Serbia's goods will be tragic mistake

Kosovo's outgoing PM: Lifting taxes on Serbia's goods will be tragic mistake Izvor: REUTERS/Hazir Reka/arhiva

Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's outgoing Prime Minister, said on Wednesday he was summoned by the Special Court in The Hague for political reasons and that he was under pressure because his Government had introduced the 100 percent import tariffs on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and refused to lift them despite the international community demands, the Beta news agency reported.

The Special Prosecution and Court were established to investigate alleged war crimes during the 1998-1999 armed conflict with Belgarde army and police, and some crimes two years after the end of the war.

Haradinaj added that annulling the taxes "would be tragic." "I hope that the next Government won't abolish the tariffs because that would bring Serbia's goods back to Kosovo."

Bahri Berisha, Kosovo’s Customs Director, told Radio Free Europe later on Wednesday, that in the first year of the implementation of the tariffs, Pristina imported 99 percent fewer goods from Serbia and Bosnia. Total value was six million Euros, while before the taxes, Belgrade and Sarajevo exported products to Kosovo worth some 500 million Euros.

 "That's what (Serbia's President Aleksandar) Vucic, who is blocking and threatening Kosovo, has demanded," Haradinaj told the Kosovo KTV.

He added it would be surprising if the next Government lifted the taxes."It's now easier for them since the international community has stopped asking for that."

"The taxes should not be abolished since Serbia hasn't changed" its attitude," Haradinaj said.

He sent a message to leading candidates for new prime minister that they should not make that mistake.

"If they do that, I think it will be a tragic act."                    

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