Serbia + 1 more

UN and NATO say "no" to Serbian security forces in Kosova

News and Press Release
Originally published
Michael Steiner, who heads the UN civilian administration in Kosova (UNMIK), said in a statement in Prishtina on 2 February that there is no reason for the UN and NATO to change their position that it is too early for any return of Serbian forces to Kosova, dpa and RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 January 2003). In Brussels, a NATO spokesman said the UN and NATO will make any decisions regarding security issues in Kosova. The spokesman added that the 1999 Kumanovo agreement with Belgrade does not provide for the return of uniformed and armed Serbian forces but only of Serbian security personnel at an unspecified point in the future. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999 makes a similar point. PM

On 1 February, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic said in a letter to NATO's regional commander, Admiral Gregory Johnson, that Serbian forces should return to Kosova because NATO plans to reduce its presence there and local Albanian authorities are likely to take charge of security matters in such a situation, Reuters reported. Djindjic stressed that "we are not going to allow that to happen" and that NATO should involve Serbia in making any decisions about security issues in Kosova, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. In Prishtina, several ethnic Albanian leaders suggested that Djindjic seeks to partition Kosova along ethnic lines, Hina reported (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 31 January 2003). Djindjic has increasingly appealed to Serbian nationalist sentiments in recent weeks, perhaps with an eye toward possible early general elections in Serbia later in 2003 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 January 2003 and "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 23 August 2002). PM

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