The Associated Press is reporting just now that ” Serbia’s minister for Kosovo, Slobodan Samardzic, crossed the border Monday to visit Serb communities in Kosovo. The top UN official in Kosovo, Joachim Ruecker, said he allowed Samardzic into Kosovo on the condition that he issue a public statement ‘making it very, very clear that he distances himself from violence and the visit is about ensuring peace and calm with the Kosovo Serbs’. Ruecker said he also insisted on meeting with Samardzic to ‘tell him what we think of some of his recent statements’ — but said later that he was not satisfied with some of the Serbian official’s answers. Samardzic said he told Ruecker that the Serbian government ‘will do everything to maintain peace in the regions of Kosovo it controls, where the Serbs live‘.” This AP story (datelined Kosovska Mitrovica, KOSOVO) is posted here.
So, the top UN official is being un-diplomatic, and the Serbs say they will continue to control areas of Kosovo that are populated by Serbs.
Is a real fight in the works?
The Russian Foreign Minister has weighed in: ” ‘We actively support Belgrade’s demand … to restore the territorial integrity of Serbia, restore the country’s sovereignty’, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on state-run Vesti-24 television. Lavrov claimed NATO and the European Union, which plans to deploy a 1,800-member police and justice mission to Kosovo, were considering using force to keep ethnic Serbs from leaving Kosovo. ‘The question of using force to hold back Serbs who do not want to remain under Pristina’s authority … is being seriously discussed’, Lavrov said in the broadcast, without offering any evidence. ‘This will only lead to yet another “frozen conflict” and will push the prospects for stabilizing Europe — and first of all for stabilizing the Balkans — far to the side’. The EU did not immediately respond to Lavrov’s remarks. But EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said earlier that the bloc’s mission would cover all of Kosovo, including the northern parts where Serbs are concentrated.“, the AP reported.