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Lavrov says tensions in Balkans growing, standoff must be prevented

January 17, 15:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The sources of concern are created by the policies pursued by those who are imposing the so-called European values in a new, modernized manner on all peoples in the Balkans, top diplomat said

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Train decorated with letters reading 'Kosovo is Serbian' written in twenty languages departing from the Belgrade to Mitrovica, Kosovo

Train decorated with letters reading 'Kosovo is Serbian' written in twenty languages departing from the Belgrade to Mitrovica, Kosovo

© AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. Everyone should be aware of the need to prevent military standoff in the Balkans where tensions are growing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at his annual news conference on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, the Balkans became a source of very serious conflicts more than once," the minister noted. "I am convinced that, although, as we know, history teaches that history teaches us nothing, this time everyone understands the need to prevent the military standoff, even though tensions are growing there." According to Lavrov, these sources of concern are created, to a significant extent, "by the policies pursued by those who are imposing the so-called European values in a new, modernized post-Christian manner on all peoples in the Balkans." "I have no doubt whatsoever," the minister stressed.

Commenting on the incident with the Belgrade-Kosovska Mitrovica passenger train, which was to proceed along this route for the first time over the past two decades during the weekend but had to return because of the provocations by Kosovo Albanians, the minister noted that he discussed the situation with Serbia’s top diplomat, Ivica Dacic, on the same day. "We analyzed what happened," Lavrov said.

"The EU should defuse the situation and make sure that the agreements between Belgrade and Pristina mediated by Brussels are complied with," the minister stressed. "They stipulate, in particular, that people’s freedom of movement is not restricted and that there should be no Albanian law enforcement agencies in northern Kosovo where ethnic Serbs live. I believe that at least some of these agreements, which the EU is expected to guarantee, were violated in this case."

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