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Russia calls on UN Mission in Kosovo to disband armed units

The relevant measures must be "urgent and exhaustive", Moscow said

MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. Russia’s foreign ministry on Friday called on the United Nations Mission in Kosovo to take measures to demilitarize the area and disband any armed unites in Kosovo.

"We are convinced that international presence in Kosovo, first of all the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Kosovo Force, are obliged, in conformity with their mandates and acting on the basis of provision 9b and article 15 of United Nations Resolution 1244, to take urgent and exhaustive measures for the demilitarization and disbanding of any armed units of Kosovo Albanians," the Russian ministry said.

"We are surprised at the rhetoric of a number of US and EU politicians and NATO generals who are seeking to persuade themselves and others that Pristina’s decision (to create an ‘army’ - TASS) allegedly changes nothing in the essence on Kosovo’s security forces," the ministry said. "But in fact, it implies a two-fold increase of these forces, creation of reserves and, what is most important, it is about changing the functions of these forces, which have been performing the functions of civil defense until recently. The United States and a number of NATO nations are already helping to train Kosovo servicemen and increasing weapons supplies to Kosovars."

"The Western capitals and Brussels are ignoring Belgrade’s constructive and responsible policy aimed the search for a compromise and easing tensions," the ministry noted. "Thus, the Serbian leaders refrained from tit-for-tat measures to respond to Pristina’s November decision on a 100-percent increase of taxes on imports from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina obviously seeking to create catastrophic conditions for Kosovo’s Serbs, to continue ethnic purges in respect of non-Albanian population."

"Kosovo’s ‘premier,’ Ramush Haradinaj, who, at Washington’s behest, has embarked on a course towards aggravation of the crisis and who is indulging in throwing threats of recurrence of violence and war in the Balkans, personifies the inadequacy of the concept of Kosovo’s ‘statehood,’ which is being enthusiastically enforced by Western propaganda," the ministry stressed. "It is evident that Kosovo is becoming an epicenter of instability, a source for conflict potential in the region. The European Union has failed its mediatory role in dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina."

Kosovo’s parliament on Friday passed three laws, namely on the establishment of the defense ministry, on turning security forces into an army and on service in Kosovo’s security forces. All those present voted in favor while lawmakers from the Serbian List party walked away from the premises and did not take part in the voting.

The army is expected to have 5,000 soldiers and 3,000 more reservists. It is planned to spend 98 million euro a year to finance the armed forces.