UN to Discuss Kosovo Tension

Posted July 28th, 2011 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.N. Security Council will hold closed-door consultations Thursday to discuss tensions between Kosovo and Serbia that resulted in the death of an ethnic-Albanian policeman earlier this week.

The situation was quiet Thursday, after NATO troops took control of two customs posts on Kosovo's northern border with Serbia. Violence erupted after Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian government sent special police units Monday to take control of northern border crossings to enforce a ban on imports from Serbia – in retaliation for Serbia's blocking of Kosovo's exports.

The posts were attacked by about 200, mostly masked, Serbs armed with firebombs after Kosovo police withdrew Wednesday, under an agreement negotiated by NATO.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci accused Belgrade of masterminding the violence, and Kosovo's Parliament called an extraordinary session to discuss the situation.

But Serbia President Boris Tadic said Wednesday's attack was conducted by hooligans, and he urged Kosovo Serbs to remain calm. Belgrade asked the U.N. for consultations and sent Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić to New York.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but the 60,000 Serbs who live in northern Kosovo still consider Belgrade their capital.

The European Union has criticized Kosovo for not coordinating the border post operation with the international community. European Union-mediated talks between Kosovo and Serbia have made little progress on reconciling the two sides. Serbia has banned the entry of goods from Kosovo since 2008.