January 20, 2013
Serbian police have removed a controversial memorial to ethnic Albanian rebels who fought against Serbia in the Kosovo war. Two hundred elite police officers supervised the removal of the marble monument from a central square in Presevo, an area with a significant Albanian community.
Local officials had refused an order from Belgrade to remove the memorial, which was erected in December. Serbia regards the rebels, who fought authorities in the 1999-2001 war, as terrorists.
The removal of the memorial comes days after the European Union praised Serbia for its progress in normalizing relations with Kosovo.
Belgrade has never recognized Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe expressed regret the monument dispute ended without a solution “that would respect the wishes of both communities.”