|Milan Radoicic, Goran Rakic (left) during the meeting with Kosovo PM Ramush Haradinaj (right). Photo: Kosovo PM’s office|
Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has been criticised for again meeting a controversial figure and power-broker in the Serb-run northern municipalities, Milan Radoicic.
The head of the Belgrade-backed Kosovo Serb party, Lista Srpska, Goran Rakic and Radoicic – who was recently elected as the deputy head – met Haradinaj at his office on Thursday.
A statement revealed few details, mentioning only that “they discussed the general situation in Kosovo with a special stress on the aspects of security, economic and social development”.
Despite being the deputy head of Lista Srpska, Radoicic appeared the main focus of the meeting, sitting in the central guest seat while Rakic sat further away.
An MP from the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, Armend Zemaj, accused Haradinaj of holding a “solemn reception” for Radoicic, referring to him as a “suspect for organised crime, extortion, violence and frightening the citizens of northern Mitrovica”.
Pristina-based political analyst Imer Mushkolaj was equally condemnatory after the picture showing Haradinaj and Radoicic was published.
“The boss of the country’s north and of dirty deals, Milan Radoicic, is welcomed in the prime minister’s office,” Mushkolaj wrote on Facebook.
Radoicic’s name was mentioned by the late Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic, who was murdered in January, in his last interview with BIRN, as the key figure and real power-holder in Serb-run north Kosovo.
“The centre of power is not within the municipality building – because the municipality building belongs to this other, informal centre of power,” Ivanovic noted.
After Ivanovic’s assassination, another key Kosovo Serb politician, Rada Trajkovic, said that Radoicic “controls life” in Serb-run northern Kosovo. “He is completely controlling life in the north, deciding on good and bad,” Trajkovic told TV N1 on January 17.
Haradinaj has met Radoicic before, in July 2017, when the Kosovo website Gazeta Express posted a photo of the two men together.
It alleged that they had been discussing whether Srpska Lista would support a proposed new Kosovo government involving Haradinaj’s Alliance for the Future of Kosovo.
Haradinaj’s coalition won most seats in the June 2017 general election in Kosovo, but he was unable to form a government until September.