Kosovo rejects NATO-Serbia deal | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 04.08.2011

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Kosovo rejects NATO-Serbia deal

NATO forces and Serbian officials have reached an accord on the disputed crossings in Kosovo's north. The government in Pristina, however, has rejected the deal out of concern that its sovereignty could be weakened.

Slovenian NATO forces in Kosovo

NATO forces intervened to contain the unrest

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian government has rejected a deal that would keep two disputed border posts in the Serb-dominated north under the control of NATO peacekeeping forces after a series of violent ethnic clashes flared last week.

The deal, struck between NATO forces and Serbian officials, would remove road blocks set up by ethnic Serbs after Kosovo's government deployed special police units to take control of the border crossings last Wednesday.

An ethnic Albanian police officer was shot dead and a border post set on fire in the subsequent violence, which forced NATO peacekeepers to intervene in order to quell the unrest.


"Roadblocks will be removed and freedom of movement will be reestablished," the NATO-led peacekeeping mission, Kosovo Force (KFOR), said in a statement.

Kosovo's government called the draft agreement "unacceptable and unfeasible." The government in Pristina wants to deploy its customs officials at the border posts in order to enforce an import ban against Serbia.

The import ban is the latest row in a trade dispute that began when Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. Belgrade refuses to recognize Kosovo as a sovereign state and has blocked Kosovo's exports.

Although Kosovo is 90 percent ethnic Albanian, around 60,000 ethnic Serbs live in the politically volatile north and still consider Belgrade their capital.

Author: Spencer Kimball (Reuters, AFP)
Editor: Catherine Bolsover

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