PRISTINA — Kosovo's constitutional court on Wednesday backed a key EU-sponsored agreement with Serbia that has prompted harsh opposition criticism and months of violent protests.
Under the deal, Kosovo and Serbia agreed to set up an association of Serb minority-run municipalities that opponents say will deepen Kosovo's ethnic divide and increase Serbian influence.
Serbia does not recognise its former province's independence and the dialogue brokered by the European Union is designed to improve relations between the two sides which fought a war in 1998 and 1999.
The association of the Serb municipalities "is to be established" as provided by the 2013 Kosovo-Serbia agreement, the court said in the ruling released to media.
However, the court stated that the principles of the agreement for the establishment of the association "are not entirely in compliance with the spirit of the constitution" and said it "shall meet the constitutional standards," giving no further details.
The court also suspended its decision from last month to halt implementation of the agreement.
Opposition lawmakers have paralysed the functioning of parliament in Pristina since mid-September, disrupting sessions by releasing tear gas, in a bid to get agreements with Serbia overturned.
Following failed attempts by the governing coalition and opposition to reach a compromise on the issue, Kosovo president Atifete Jahjaga referred the matter to the constitutional court. — AFP