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Tensions rising on Kosovo-Serbia border

Posted on 12/09/2019 | in 苏州美睫美甲 | by

Dozens of youths set fire to one of two border posts on Kosovo’s northern frontier with Serbia that have been at the centre of rising tensions, media reports and witnesses said Wednesday.

南宁桑拿

RTS national television showed footage of young masked people, apparently ethnic Serbs, throwing Molotov cocktails at the Jarinje border post and destroying it with the help of a bulldozer.

“The entire Jarinje post has been burned and is covered with smoke,” a witness told AFP by telephone.

According to the witness, about 25 police and border officers, including some from the European Union’s EULEX mission, took refuge on the Serbian side of the border.

EULEX spokesman Nicholas Hawton told AFP no one was injured in the attack.

NATO’s KFOR mission in Kosovo said in a statement that its personnel near the border post had been fired upon, and said it was reinforcing its presence in the area to prevent further incidents.

Kosovo’s prime minister Hashim Thaci blamed Serbia for the attack.

“These violent acts were ordered, coordinated and managed by the highest political structures of the government of Serbia,” he told reporters at a late-night extraordinary press conference.

“It was done by masked people but everything is clear. Behind this is Belgrade.”

Serbian President Boris Tadic called for an end to the violence.

“Extremists and hooligans act against the interests of Serbian citizens and of Serbia and join with the Albanian extremists who want to end, through unilateral acts and violence, the peace process and dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina,” Tadic said in a statement.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton also condemned violence in the area.

“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. Violence will never be tolerated and unilateral actions are not the way forward,” she said.

NATO’s top official in Kosovo, German General Erhard Buhler, said there was “a difficult and tense situation” in northern Kosovo, warning that his 5,000-strong force was ready to act to maintain security.

“KFOR is prepared and authorised to defend security by all means,” he said in an interview with local television.

On Monday, the ethnic-Albanian-dominated government in Pristina sent elite police units to seize control of the Brnjak and Jarinje border crossings. One officer was killed and four others hurt in a clash with angry local Serbs. The officers were withdrawn on Wednesday, officials said.

The goal of the operation was to replace local Serb police officers suspected of turning a blind eye to imports from Serbia after a ban was introduced a week ago.

The seizure of the crossings marked a sharp escalation in the trade row between Kosovo and its former rulers in Belgrade, ramping up tensions in an area mainly inhabited by ethnic Serbs.

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