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Kosovo Albanian authorities try to use Russian convoy for seizing control over checkpoint

December 13, 2011, 20:27 UTC+3

The Russian ambassador called the Serbian foreign minister to discuss the problem

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JARINJE, Serbia, December 13 (Itar-Tass) — A Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid to Kosovo Serbs has been staying at the entry to Kosovo since 2:00 p.m. Moscow time on Tuesday.

EULEX officers refuse to let the trucks cross the Jarinje checkpoint on the administrative border of central Serbia and Kosovo. The first two trucks were cleared by the customs and the procedure stopped by the order of the mission administration without any explanations.

EULEX insists that the convoy must be accompanied for security reasons, Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin said. In his words, the Russian side has repeatedly declined the accompanying of the convoy as there are no threats to the convoy in northern areas of Kosovo.

Meanwhile, Kosovo Serbs refuse to let EULEX vehicles into the areas they control. A source in Kosovska Mitrovica told Itar-Tass that eleven EULEX vehicles are staying at the entry to the city. Kosovo Albanian border guards, customs officers and journalists are members of the so-called accompanying group. “It seems the Albanian side has decided to use the occasion for taking control over the Jarinje checkpoint, whose approaches are blocked by Kosovo Serbs,” the source said.

The Russian ambassador called the Serbian foreign minister to discuss the problem. The Russian Foreign and Emergency Situations Ministries were informed about the situation.

Russian diplomats, representatives of the Emergency Situations Ministry and the media insist on the free movement of the Russian convoy to the territory of Kosovo.

The convoy crossed the Romanian border on Saturday and headed for Kosovo for transferring the humanitarian cargo to the Serbian organization of the Red Cross in Kosovska Mitrovica.

Twenty-five trucks departed from Noginsk on December 7 to bring power plants, blankets, food, dishes and folding furniture to Serbia. The total weight of the humanitarian cargo is 284 tonnes. The convoy was supposed to cross the territory of Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Serbia.

Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday that the ministry was sending another humanitarian convoy to Kosovo Serbs.

“A convoy carrying humanitarian cargo will depart from the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s 179th rescue center in Noginsk, Moscow region, to Serbia at 5:30 a.m. Moscow time on December 10,” he said.

The trucks will deliver diesel power plants, furnaces, folding furniture, household heaters, blankets, bed linen and food with the total weight of 160 tonnes, the minister said.

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