News / Europe

    NATO Concerned About Kosovo After Deadly Border Clashes

    US soldiers serving in KFOR check vehicles from Serbia entering Kosovo after reopening a checkpoint, demolished and burned by angry Kosovo Serbs, in the village of Jarinje, on the Serbia-Kosovo border, July 28, 2011
    US soldiers serving in KFOR check vehicles from Serbia entering Kosovo after reopening a checkpoint, demolished and burned by angry Kosovo Serbs, in the village of Jarinje, on the Serbia-Kosovo border, July 28, 2011
    Stefan Bos

    The U.N. Security Council is holding an emergency session to discuss Kosovo, where the NATO military alliance and the European Union are struggling to restore a tense peace after border clashes near Serbia killed one ethnic-Albanian policemen and injured four others. NATO says its peacekeepers have taken control of two contested border crossings, but concerns remain about the future.

    Serb mob attack

    Serbian television shows European Union police rushing to their cars and fleeing as about 200 mostly masked Serbs attack border posts in northern Kosovo near Serbia. The mob smashes doors and windows and soon set one of the outposts on fire in the overnight violence.  

    Eventually NATO, already stretched by wars in Afghanistan and Libya, managed to send American and French peacekeepers to the troubled area.  NATO said Thursday its troops took control of the two border posts, despite being attacked by Serbs armed with fire bombs.

    Alliance forces

    The alliance has about 6,000 troops in Kosovo, 11 years after it forced Serb forces to end a crackdown on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians.

    But the latest violence raises questions about whether NATO has enough troops available if ethnic clashes spread further in Kosovo.

    The top-European diplomat in Kosovo, Pieter Feith, has acknowledged the international community is struggling to overcome tensions in northern Kosovo as the 60,000 Serbs there do not recognize the region's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.

    Serbs are not loyal to Kosovo

    Feith, who heads the International Civilian Mission, explains that problems remain as the Serb community in northern Kosovo takes only orders from Belgrade and not from the central government in Kosovo's capital Prisina. But he tells Dutch radio the international community does not want the north to separate and does not want the situation to turn into a "frozen conflict" because it is strategically located in Europe.

    Serbia's role

    Local Serbs block access to border crossing in Jarinje on Kosovo-Serbia border to protest against Kosovo special police units operation overnight to take control of two disputed border crossings in Kosovo's northern Serb-run border region, July 26, 2011
    Local Serbs block access to border crossing in Jarinje on Kosovo-Serbia border to protest against Kosovo special police units operation overnight to take control of two disputed border crossings in Kosovo's northern Serb-run border region, July 26, 2011

    Kosovo's government has accused Serbia of encouraging the violence. But Belgrade's chief negotiator, Borko Stefanovic, has denied these charges.   

    "We do everything to calm the situation down," he said. "And we strongly condemn any violence."

    The latest standoff began this week when Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci ordered special police forces to take over the two disputed border posts, which were previously manned by Serb members of the police under EU supervision.

    Pristina wants to assert control over the north and enforce a ban on goods from Serbia to counter years of a similar boycott by Belgrade in response to Kosovo's 2008 secession - which Serbia does not recognize.

    Thaci has defended the move, although the operation left one ethnic Albanian policeman dead and injured four others.

    "Black Hole"

    Prime Minister Thaci says in a statement the operation was the right decision, because in his words "it was a concrete step in establishing the rule of law" in the volatile north. He says "Kosovo can not remain indifferent" and allow a part of its territory to remain "a black hole, not only for itself, but also for Europe."               

    Thaci says the European Union's 3,000-member rule-of-law mission "hesitated and refused" to back Pristina's decision to control the two disputed crossings on the border with Serbia. The European Union has condemned Kosovo's operation.

    US position

    The U.S. government did not condemn the move, but criticized Kosovo for not having coordinated its actions with the international community. That view is shared by top-diplomat Feith.   

    He says "Kosovo government's wants to establish its authority also in the north."  He says the countries he represents "support those efforts to a certain extent," but he adds they  reject violence. Feith also says the international community wants the government's authority extended to the whole territory of Kosovo.

    But the tensions are overshadowing Western attempts to normalize relations between Kosovo and neighboring Serbia, at a time when they are seeking closer ties with the European Union.  

    The U.N. Security Council continues to discuss the situation as NATO tries to mediate to help prevent the outbreak of another Balkan conflict.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora