EU warns on Kosovo violence

2011-07-28 10:13

kalahari.com

Pristina - A deadly flare-up of violence in Kosovo's Serbian-populated north has sent tensions with Belgrade soaring and prompted a stern intervention from the EU.

Kosovo, which has a 90% ethnic Albanian majority, sent special police units on Monday to take control of northern border crossings and enforce a ban on imports from Serbia - retaliation for its block on Kosovo's exports.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade does not recognise the move and the 60 000 Serbs who live in northern Kosovo still consider Belgrade their capital.

One Kosovo police officer was shot in the head and died on Tuesday in a clash with local Serbs. On Wednesday, armed Serbs attacked and burned down the Jarinje border post and fired at members of Nato's KFOR peacekeeping force.

"It was confirmed that an act of arson was committed against that position... There have also been confirmed reports of shots fired at KFOR personnel in the vicinity," KFOR said in a statement.

Violence

It did not say whether anyone was injured in the attack or whether KFOR troops had returned fire, but said reinforcements had been sent to the border.

Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci accused Belgrade of masterminding the violence. "We will not withdraw, there will be no return under any circumstances and at any price," he said.

He said Serbia was trying to carve out a piece of northern Kosovo, but this "will never happen".

Serbia's pro-European President Boris Tadic urged Kosovo Serbs to refrain from violence. "The hooligans who are sparking violence are not defending either the people or the Serb state," his office said in a statement.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she spoke on Tuesday with Thaci and Tadic, urging them to restore calm immediately with a warning that violence would not be tolerated.

"I strongly condemn the violence that has taken place in northern Kosovo. These latest developments are unacceptable," she said in a statement.

"It is the responsibility of both Belgrade and Pristina to immediately defuse the tensions, and restore calm and security for everyone."

Talks

Belgrade wants to join the EU, but it must mend its ties with Kosovo to speed up its bid to join the bloc. Pristina and Belgrade have started EU-moderated talks aimed at improving trade, movement of people and issues like energy supplies, but negotiations have moved slowly.

Kosovo's police raids on Monday and Tuesday drew criticism from both the US and the EU, which said the government should have consulted its Western backers.

A Serb eyewitness said on Wednesday that a group of masked men armed with wooden planks, axes and crowbars attacked and burned the Jarinje border post, which consisted of two-storey prefabricated buildings and a roofed passageway for cars.

"Later a bulldozer was brought to demolish the burned buildings," he said.

A cameraman and a sound engineer of Serbia's state-run Tanjug news agency were attacked by Serb hard-line nationalists near Jarinje and seriously injured, the agency said.

In a separate incident earlier on Wednesday, an unidentified gunman fired shots at a Nato helicopter, a Nato spokesperson said, but there were no injuries.

The UN Security Council accepted a Serbian request for an urgent meeting on tensions in Kosovo after Serbia sent a letter to the 15-nation council requesting an open meeting.

The call was supported by Serbia's ally Russia, which like Belgrade has refused to recognise Kosovo's February 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.

The council opted for a compromise and scheduled closed-door consultations on Kosovo on Thursday, rather than a public meeting, the diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

Serbia lost its former province of Kosovo in 1999, when Nato waged a bombing campaign to stop Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic from killing ethnic Albanians and carrying out ethnic cleansing in a counter-insurgency war.
Read more on:    serbia  |  kosovo  |  security
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Wine
 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.