EU policing could fuel tensions in Kosovo: Russia

May 8th, 2008 - 7:27 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Moscow, May 8 (RIA Novosti) Efforts by the European Union (EU) to take over from the UN policing in Kosovo in June are only fanning tensions in the region, Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Yakovenko said Thursday. The EU plans to deploy a 2,000-strong police and justice mission in Kosovo to eventually replace the UN mission.

The UN mission in Kosovo, stationed in the area since the end of an inter-ethnic conflict in 1999, plans to ‘re-configure’ itself in the region after June 15, when Kosovo’s government is due to take over from the UN.

“The EU mission, due to its illegitimate status, is not able to fulfil its functions in the civil sphere [in Kosovo],” Yakovenko told the government daily, Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

The diplomat said the deployment of the EU mission in the province was possible only under the UN auspices with Belgrade’s consent.

“The attempts to replace the UN mission and to appropriate its goals and mandate simply make the situation even worse,” he added.

Kosovo, with a 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority, has been formally recognised as a sovereign state by over 37 countries including the US and most EU members.

Russia, Serbia’s long-time ally and a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, has refused to recognize Kosovo’s independence.
RIA Novosti

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