A member of Kosovo's parliament sets off smoke devices during a session to protest an EU-brokered deal to improve ties with Serbia. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: An opposition lawmaker in Kosovo set off what appeared to be a smoke bomb in parliament on Thursday (October 8), in a deepening political standoff over an EU-brokered deal to improve ties between Serbia and its former southern province. Albin Kurti, leader of the opposition Self-Determination party, calmly triggered the device before kicking it around the chamber to spread the smoke. There was no immediate confirmation from police of what actual device was used. Self-Determination described it as a 'gas canister'. Kurti, a former student protest leader against Serbian rule in the 1990s, is leading opposition to a slow-moving rapprochement between Pristina and Belgrade, mediated by the European Union as a way to cement stability in the former Yugoslavia. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia and has been recognized by more than 100 countries, but Serbia and its big-power ally Russia are blocking its accession to the United Nations. Kurti and his followers are angry at the Kosovo government's acquiescence to a deal creating an 'association' of municipalities where minority Serbs live, saying this represents a creeping return to rule from Belgrade.