News / Europe

    Tensions Flare as Serbs Blockade Kosovo Border Crossings

    Kosovo Serbs stand at a barrier near the closed Serbia-Kosovo border crossing of Jarinje September 16, 2011.
    Kosovo Serbs stand at a barrier near the closed Serbia-Kosovo border crossing of Jarinje September 16, 2011.

    Tensions are flaring in northern Kosovo, where ethnic Serbs are blockading roads leading to two border crossings with Serbia.

    Hundreds of ethnic Serbs protested at the sealed crossings at Jarinje and Brnjak Friday, reacting to a new attempt by European Union police and Kosovo customs officials to re-open them to traffic.

    In Pristina, Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci told Cabinet ministers efforts to reopen the customs posts are under way, but Serbia's minister for Kosovo, Goran Bogdanovic, warned Friday the effort could lead  to "renewed conflict."

    EU officials say they are just trying to implement an agreement made earlier this month to reopen the crossings.

    The EU said helicopters are being used to ferry personnel and supplies to the posts, which are surrounded by barbed wire.  And a statement by EULEX, the EU mission in Kosovo, called on both sides to support the measures, "to improve the rule of law for everyone."

    In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner called on all parties to maintain calm, saying roadblocks and barricades serve only to impair daily lives of people in both Kosovo and Serbia. He also commended NATO and EULEX efforts to ensure security in the region and enable free movement of goods and people across the border.

    The crossings have been under NATO control since violence between ethnic Serbs and Albanians erupted there in July, leaving one person dead.

    A senior United Nations peacekeeping official urged Kosovo and Serbia Thursday to demonstrate their commitment to a peaceful resolution ahead of the planned reopening of the border crossings.

    U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet also said Pristina and Belgrade need "to take responsibility" for preventing any recurrence of violence.

    Serbia and Russia had requested the U.N. Security Council meeting to help prevent Kosovo's ethnic Albanian authorities from using force in northern Kosovo, which is populated by ethnic Serbs who reject the government in Pristina.

    Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and many countries, including the United States, have recognized the move.  But Serbia claims the move is illegal and has the support of Russia, a permanent U.N. Security Council member with veto power.  Since then, northern Kosovo has been plagued by ethnic conflict between the region's majority Serbs and ethnic Albanians, who are the majority in the rest of Kosovo.

    Serbian customs officials have barred goods that contain attributes of Kosovo's statehood, such as Pristina's own stamps.  In response, Kosovo has barred Serbian imports and attempted to take over the two important border crossings to enforce the ban.

    You May Like

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    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 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 A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    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 First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    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.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora