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KFOR actions in Kosovo not conform to UN SC mandate – RF FM

October 05, 2011, 18:31 UTC+3

Four NATO peacekeepers and six Serb protesters were wounded on September 27

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MOSCOW, October 5 (Itar-Tass) — Actions by Kosovo Force (KFOR) in Kosovo on September 27 do not conform to the U.N. Security Council mandate, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Wednesday.

“Russia reiterated at different levels that unilateral actions, which were aimed at taking under Pristina’s control the administrative line with Serbia, were very dangerous from the point of view of the supremacy of law,” the diplomat said.

“Our partners refused to listen to the Russian warnings that the attempts to encourage the Pristina leadership would be fraught with serious consequences. The fact that Kosovo Force uses violence against the Serbian population arouses our concern. NATO servicemen’s destruction fire led to numerous victims,” the diplomat said.

“Moscow said the use of force does not conform to the U.N. Security Council mandate on the international presence and violates the principle of status neutrality,” the ministry’s spokesman said.

Four NATO peacekeepers and six Serb protesters were wounded on September 27 when violence erupted at a disputed crossing point between Serbia and Kosovo, officials said.

The violence came just hours before Belgrade was due to resume EU-mediated talks with Pristina aimed at calming tensions in majority-Serb northern Kosovo.

“Four KFOR soldiers are wounded by pipe bomb (an improvised explosive device). One of them badly and three slightly,” Kai Gudenoge, deputy spokesman of the NATO-led force, told AFP.

He added that the seriously injured soldier was medivaced for treatment.

Meanwhile, the director of a hospital in nearby Kosovska Mitrovica told local media that six Serb protestors who clashed with KFOR at the disputed Jarinje border post were seriously injured by gunfire.

The latest incidents happened at around 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), when KFOR fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse some 1,500 Serb demonstrators protesting against the dismantling of their roadblock at Jarinje.

The Serbs surrounded a few dozen KFOR soldiers in five transport vehicles and started pelting them with rocks.

“They (Serbs) threw stones on German soldiers. One solider was hit and the troops were forced to fire non lethal rounds in self-defence,” Gudenoge said.

Last Friday, Kosovo police and officials from the EU rule of law mission to Kosovo (EULEX) took control of the two main crossing points between northern Kosovo and Serbia.

Fearing this would limit their access to Serbia, Serbs in northern Kosovo responded by erecting a dozen barricades to block traffic to and from the posts.

By stationing Kosovo police and customs officials on the northern crossings, Pristina is trying to get a grip on the majority-Serb north which rejects Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence and refuses to recognise the ethnic Albanian government.

The latest tensions follow violent clashes late July when Serb protesters confronted Kosovo police who tried to take control of the border posts to enforce a trade ban with Serbia.


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