February 8, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Tensions in Kosovo – Greek Foreign Ministry on full alert

Two new barricades were erected by the Serbs in the northern part of the city of Mitrovica. Heavy trucks loaded with sand and gravel are parked on the main roads leading from the south of the city to the north, where the Serb population is in the majority.

Serbs went for this move due to warnings from Pristina that a police operation is imminent to remove the checkpoints they set up 18 days ago in northern Kosovo. Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti in a statement last Sunday, he called the Serbian checkpoints “belligerent”. These are barricades of people in dark uniforms, people with short hair and beards. They have weapons, and they put up barricades not to block the passage of cars, but to defend themselves and shoot at approaching cars. So these are military checkpoints,” he said. Kurti to the Bosnian news site istraga.ba.

According to APE, Prime Minister of Kosovo, during yesterday’s meeting with the Commander of the International Forces in Kosovo (KFOR) General Angelo Michele, asked for the checkpoints to be removed and stated that if KFOR did not do so, the police would take action. Belgrade immediately reacted to these warnings, and the President of the Republic Alexander Vucic put the army and police on high alert. “After equipping the Albanians and increasing their combat readiness, I will take all measures to protect our people and preserve Serbia,” Aleksandar Vučić wrote in an Instagram post late on Monday evening.

This was followed by a statement by Defense Minister Milos Vucevicwho said that by order of the President of the Republic he ordered the Serbian army to be “at the highest level of combat readiness, that is, at the level of the use of armed forces.”

Serbian Interior Minister Bratislava Gacic also said police readiness has also increased. “By order of the President of the Republic and the Supreme Commander armed forces, I ordered to increase the combat readiness of the police and special forces. The police forces are directly subordinate to the General Staff of the Armed Forces, as provided for in the operational plan.,” she said in a post.

“In Kosovo and Metohija, tension is literally in the air today. Without waiting for the promised dispersal of the Serbian barricades from NATO peacekeepers, the Kosovo authorities apparently decided to go for broke, – writes this year. channel “Balkan Gossip Girl”. – Right now, one and a half thousand armed fighters of the Kosovo police and special forces are stationed in the immediate vicinity of the Serbian municipalities and are ready at any moment to start a forceful action to clean up the gathering points of protesting Serbs. The Belgrade authorities have already made a number of unequivocal statements: the response to the threat to Serbian citizens from Pristina will not be long in coming. By words First Deputy Prime Minister Dacic, if it comes to an armed attack on the Serbs in the north of the province (what else can be called the planned Albanians dispersal of a peaceful demonstration using firearms and heavy equipment?), the Serbian army is ready to enter the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. Of course, there is no talk of a Serbian military operation to clean up the region, which the Albanian and world media have been scaring us for several months. The units stationed in Raska are put on high alert only in case of an attack on the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija”.

Due to the tense situation in the north of Kosovo, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias contacted the Head of the Greek Delegation in Pristina this morning, as well as with Greek KFOR officials to get information about the situation in the region after the latest events, according to diplomatic sources.

According to the Foreign Minister, as part of its initiatives to de-escalate tensions, through his frequent visits to the Western Balkans region, is in constant contact with the Special Envoy EU for the Western Balkans by Miroslav Lajcak, as happened a week before the visit of Nikos Dendias to Pristina. For this, as noted, he appointed Ambassador Sophia Grammata as special envoy to the Western Balkans.

In addition, it is emphasized that Greece attaches the highest importance to the promotion of peace, security and stability in the wider region of the Western Balkans and supports the continuation of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina in the interests of a mutually agreed solution of outstanding issues, final and legally binding.

Greece is one of the few EU countries not recognizing Kosovo. However, in 1999 Greece took part in NATO Operation Allied Force in Serbia.

Source link