Blinken: Kosovo and Serbia reduce tensions

2023-06-01 14:50:41, Kosova & Bota CNA

Blinken: Kosovo and Serbia reduce tensions

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Kosovo and Serbia on Thursday to take immediate steps to reduce tensions, warning that the current situation hinders the Euro-Atlantic integration processes of both countries.

In a conference after the meeting of the foreign ministers of the NATO member countries in Oslo, Secretary Blinken said that "many allies expressed concern about the tensions in northern Kosovo after the Albanian presidents took office in the Serb-majority areas of northern Kosovo after the elections of April in which the Serbs refused to participate".

The United States said during the week that Kosovo will face consequences because of its actions and rejection of American advice against actions in the north. They called on Serbia to reduce the level of military preparedness and call on the Serbian inhabitants of Kosovo not to oppose KFOR and not to commit violent actions.

NATO decided to increase its military presence in Kosovo after 30 KFOR peacekeepers and 52 Serbian protesters were injured in Monday's clashes in northern Kosovo.

The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, said that the alliance is ready to send more troops to Kosovo to prevent violence, emphasizing that the first 700 troops are already on their way.

" But of course this does not mean that we are giving up on a political solution. Our message to both Belgrade and Pristina is that they must engage in good faith in dialogue facilitated by the European Union as the only path to peace ," said Secretary Stoltenberg.

Condemning the violence against NATO troops as "totally unacceptable," Secretary Stoltenberg said Thursday in Oslo that " NATO will remain vigilant." We will be there to ensure a safe environment as well as to reduce tensions ."

The head of foreign policy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, called on Thursday for the extension of the situation.

" We must insist that violence is not the right way, violence must be punished and the perpetrators of this violence must be brought to justice. Everyone should avoid any form of escalation and uncoordinated movements ," he said at the start of the high-level meeting of the European Political Community in Chisinau, Moldova.

Tensions in the north of Kosovo remain high and Serbian protesters gathered again on Thursday to demand the removal from the municipal buildings of the Albanian mayors who emerged from the April 23 elections, which were boycotted by the Serbs, as well as the removal of special police units that accompanied the presidents to their workplaces.

The action by Kosovo authorities prompted sharp criticism from the United States and other Western allies, who demanded that mayors work in other offices and that special police units leave municipal buildings.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, said on Wednesday that he will not remove the mayors of the northern municipalities from their offices, but left open the possibility of new elections in the area.

The President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, said on Thursday that the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, should end his support for "criminal gangs" in the north of Kosovo.

" The situation is tense, but we must make sure that we restore the rule of law in Kosovo, and understand that the threat comes from Serbia's denial of Kosovo's existence as a sovereign state," said President Osmani, who is in Moldova for the meeting of the European Political Community.

Before the start of the meeting, Serbian President Aleksandar Vu?i? called on the Kosovo authorities to arrest what he called " alleged mayors of municipalities ". Such a step, he said, would be the "most powerful movement" that could solve the crisis./ VOA

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