NATO Steps Up Security In Kosovo’s Tense North
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NATO Steps Up Security In Kosovo’s Tense North

Serbianna   | 08.10.2010.

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led peacekeepers, together with European Union and local police, have increased security in Kosovo’s mainly Serb-populated north, warning they wouldn’t tolerate any further violence, an official said Tuesday.

“We have increased yesterday [Monday] our security measures in northern Kosovo by conducting…patrols” and setting up checkpoints, the commander of NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo, known as KFOR, German Gen. Erhard Buehler told reporters.

Buehler said joint operations with the local police were trying to “tackle this challenging situation in the north which lacks law and order.”

Since the end of the 1998-99 war in predominantly ethnic Albanian Kosovo, the northern part of the territory, populated mostly by minority Serbs, and especially Mitrovica, the main town in the area, have been the scene of deep tensions and inter-ethnic clashes.

Kosovo police director Behar Selimi said the recent deterioration of the situation in the area had led to the joint operation of all security forces deployed there.

“The fact that in the last days bombs have been thrown into citizens’ yards almost every evening, that there is a violent behavior and organized crime, has made us to think very seriously and make a plan to increase security,” Selimi said.

Buehler said the security operation was aimed at stemming “negative developments” in the politically and ethnically tense region which “is becoming a threat to the security and stability and the freedom of movement in northern Kosovo.”

The German general, who commands the around 10,000-strong peacekeeping force, didn’t want to disclose the number of troops dispatched to the area.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 and it is recognized by 70 countries, including the U.S. and most EU members. Serbia opposes the move.

October 05, 2010

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