Belgrade protests Albanians threatening Serbs in breakaway province
Hundreds of police loyal to the ethnic Albanian government in Pristina were deployed on Thursday evening north of Kosovska Mitrovica, the Serb-majority city in northern Kosovo’s breakaway province. The government in Belgrade has described the act as illegal and part of a string of abuses against local Serbs.
From 300-350 officers, including heavily armed special forces “in full war gear and with armored vehicles,” entered Kosovska Mitrovica around 8:30pm on Thursday and “actually takes up the whole city,” Petar Petkovic, the commissioner of the Serbian government in Kosovo, told reporters at a news conference just before midnight.
Petkovic said the presence of these officers was illegal under the 2013 agreement governing relations between Belgrade and Pristina, who blamed prime minister Albin Kurti for recklessly inciting violence. . “Everybody knows that very well, but plays dumb and allows Kurti to initiate these dangerous actions, with the aim of burying the Brussels Agreement.”
Petkovic points out that the Mitrovica attack took place on the same day that Kosovo police seized 42,000 liters of alcohol from a Serbian family’s winery in Velika Hoca – even after they offered to pay a fine for alleged tax evasion. — and the day after heavily armed officers harassed children and staff at a kindergarten in Leposavic.
Like everything the Serbs do must be attacked and punished.
Petkovic said Serbia is currently considering returning up to 1,000 security personnel to the province, something it has been authorized to do since 1999, under UN Security Council Resolution 1244. He also warned “those in the West have a duty to keep Kurti in line” to understand that President Aleksandar Vucic was completely serious when he said that Serbia would not allow another massacre in Kosovo.
A statement from Pristina says that the Kosovo Police have the right “control the security situation and law enforcement in the country” and its deployment to Mitrovica is part of “necessary, reasonable and lawful measures to enforce the laws and decisions of Kosovo state authorities.”
Regional police spokesman Besim Hoti told the Belgrade Politika daily that “no reason to worry” and that the implementation is “prevent” to ensure the safety of ethnic Albanians in the Serb-majority city.
NATO troops took control of Kosovo after bombing Serbia for 78 days in 1999. The ethnic Albanian interim government declared independence in 2008, which Belgrade refuses to recognize.
The current tension began in late July, when Kurti announced a ban on Serbian license plates, citing the Brussels Agreement. Serbia objected, saying that he had not implemented any of the provisions of the document. Pristin balk last month, under pressure from both the US and EU, but Vucic speak he expected more “difficult times” front.
You can share this story on social media: