Kosovo Serb Zvonko Veselinovic has been arrested by Serbian authorities on suspicions that he has been involved in criminal activities, most likely contraband. The Mitrovica resident is currently being held in the police department in central Serbian city of Kraljevo, near the Kosovo border.
Belgrade, SERBIA – Tuesday, December 20, 2011 / The independent NewsweeK
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Kosovar PM Hasim Thaci in
Pristina Monday, December 19, 2011.
Veselinovic has been also mentioned in the past as one of the principal activists who have organized road barricades to block Kosovo’s border with Serbia that provoked tensions over the summer and fall.
Blockades followed in a wake of a mutually imposed embargo between Serbia and its breakaway province.
For more than five months, Serbs have been blocking main roads in northern Kosovo to stop the country’s ethnic Albanian leadership from extending their control over parts of Kosovo.
In EU sponsored talks, Belgrade and Pristina delegations reached a last minute agreement late on Friday on joint management of border crossings between Serbia and Kosovo, whose majority Albanians declared independence in 2008.
Serbs in Northern Kosovo do not recognize Kosovo’s independence and have denied access of NATO KFOR units and Kosovo authorities to manage the border.
This has led to counter-accusations that so-called “parallel structures” by Serbs inNorthern Kosovo have are profiting from the crisis by engaging in smuggling.
Monday German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a surprise visit to Pristina in which she was exceptionally explicit, saying that Serbia must reach a peace deal with Kosovo if it is to ever join the EU.
Merkel further urged the Serbian government not to support the parallel structures in Northern Kosovo and to help lift all road blockades there.
Serbia failed to get a much hoped-for official EU candidate status at the European Council December 9, ostensibly because of German opposition motivated by Serbia’s Kosovo policy.
Thirty German and Austrian soldiers were injured earlier this month when hundreds of Serbs resisted an attempt by NATO to remove roadblocks they had put up in the north.
Germany has the biggest military contingent in Kosovo, with some 1,800 soldiers serving in NATO’s peacekeeping mission in the former Serbian province. The NATO commander there is German.
Kosovo is 90 percent ethnic Albanian and declared independence from Belgrade in 2008. Serbia refuses to recognize it and Kosovo’s ethnic Serbs, who dominate in a small slice of the north, continue to function as part of Serbia.
Troubles started in July when Kosovo sent special police units to the northern border to enforce a trade ban with Serbia but were turned back by armed Serbs. Then NATO troops, mainly German soldiers, intervened to try to calm the situation.
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