1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Border clash

July 26, 2011

The European Union's foreign policy coordinator has called for calm after Kosovo government forces tried to take control of two border posts in the country's north, leaving one police officer dead.

KFOR soldiers at Kosovo-Serbian border
NATO troops had to help contain ethnic clashes in 2008Image: AP

Calling for calm, the European Union foreign policy coordinator, Catherine Ashton, criticised a Kosovo government forces operation in which one police officer was injured with gun shot to the head and later died.

The Kosovo government had ordered police to take control of two border posts in the Serb-controlled north to enforce a ban on imports from Serbia. Imports were banned after talks on trade liberalisation failed.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci ordered the special police raid in response to Serbia’s refusal to accept Kosovo’s customs stamps, which are needed for cross-border trade.

But the EU and United States have both said the Kosovo government should have consulted its Western allies, who have stationed 6,000 peacekeeping troops in the area.

The EU’s Catherine Ashton has spoken to Prime Minister Thaci and Serbian President Boris Tadic, urging them "to restore calm immediately."

Show of force

Kosovo border crossing
The contested border is a source of political tensionImage: RIA Novosti

Speaking before the police officer was confirmed dead, Kosovo’s deputy prime minister, Hajredin Kuci, had said the action was not "against the local people."

Kuci said that the police action was necessary to secure the "rule of law, to control our border crossings and also to have only one economic system, which has not worked in that part of the country for many years."

Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo as an independent state but has agreed to work to ease tensions that hamper daily life in a bid to bolster its aspirations for European Union membership.

Since the 2008 declaration of independence, 76 countries including the United States and most of the EU have recognized Kosovo as a sovereign state.

Author: Zulfikar Abbany, Spencer Kimball (Reuters, AFP, dpa)
Editor: Andreas Illmer