October 20, 2011
NATO troops in Kosovo used teargas and tanks to remove barriers at a disputed border crossing into Serbia as hundreds of Kosovo Serbs ignored warnings to leave. Overnight NATO-led Kosovo Force troops were sent to remove barricades on the road between the town of Jagnjenica and the border crossing at Bernjak and to disperse crowds, EuroNews.net reported Thursday.
by Vedat Xhymshiti, on Thursday, October 20, 2011 – Mitrovica, Kosovo
|NATO forces and Kosovo local Serbs clash in Jagjenica, Northern Kosovo
on Thursday, October 20, 2011
10 NATO peacekeepers were slightly injured in scuffles with the protesters injuries were reported in the incident at around 6:00 am (0400 GMT) as an armed transporter approached to remove a truck in the centre of the Kosovo Serbs’ barricade. Local health officials said more than a dozen Serbs were treated for minor injuries and the effects of tear gas.
Kosovo Serbs reject Kosovo’s independence and erected 16 barricades in the north during the summer to protest Pristina’s growing international presence. NATO leaders met with local Serbs Wednesday to try to negotiate a peaceful removal of the barriers.
Serbian President Boris Tadic called for military restraint in northern Kosovo and urged Kosovo Serb leaders to make decisions that are in the citizens’ best interests, Tanjug reported
“I demand from KFOR [NATO-led Kosovo Force] and EULEX [European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo] to restrain themselves from the use of force and from local leaders to make decisions that are exclusively in the vital interest of our people in Kosovo and not in the interest of their party chiefs who have been politically using even this issue for the sake of some future elections,” Tadic said.
Serbia is seeking European Union membership but EU leadership said accession talks depend on Belgrade cooperating with Kosovo’s government.
The president told Tanjug Thursday that citizens must not yield to violent acts “because they would lead to a downfall.”
|U. S. KFOR troops in northern Kosovo border crossing Gate #1 at Jarinje,
patroling behind the barbed wire, on Saturday, October 8, 2011
KFOR spokesman Uwe Nowitzki said Thursday the force would maintain operations aimed at establishing freedom of movement in Kosovo.
“KFOR has managed to put the Brnjak administrative crossing under its control, as well as the alternative road around the crossing, which was being used for smuggling,” Nowitzki said.
The international response came by way of 11 weeks of NATO bombing of Serbian installations. The war in Kosovo erupted in 1998 when Serbia launched a brutal crackdown against the Albanian civilians, as well as people fighting for liberation of their country from Serbia. The UN administration was introduced after 11 weeks of NATO bombardment of Serbia due to Belgrade’s repression against two million Kosovo Albanians.
Pristina declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognised by more then 80 countries including the US and a majority of European Union member states.