Kosovo: Serb police reject Pristina's command

Pristina, 29 Feb. (AKI) – Several hundred policemen of Serbian nationality on Friday refused to take orders from Kosovo's police force, saying they had no wish to serve the “illegal state” proclaimed by majority ethnic Albanians two weeks ago.

There are about 500 Serb policemen in Kosovo, but police spokesman Veton Elsani said they have failed to report to work over the past few days. They have staged protests in several predominantly Serb towns, demanding to be put under the control of the United Nations police.

Apart from 17,000 NATO soldiers stationed in Kosovo since the province was put under United Nations control in 1999, the United Nations has kept its own police which worked closely with the local police force controlled by the ethnic Albanian authorities.

But power has been gradually transferred to the Kosovo police corps, controlled by Pristina, despite objections by local Serbs.

Belgrade opposes Kosovo's independence, but has cooperated with the UN administration (UNMIK) whose presence in the province is sanctioned by Security Council resolution 1244. The resolution describes Kosovo as a part of Serbia.

Serbia’s ally, Russia, has blocked the independence move in the UN Security Council. But the European Union has decided to send its own 2,000 strong mission(EULEX) to Kosovo to implement independence.

Kosovo's independence has been recognised by over 20 countries, including the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy and Germany.

Representatives of Serb policemen were holding talks with Kosovo police and UNMIK officials to resolve the dispute. But local Albanian language media reported that police officers who don’t accept orders from Pristina command are likely to lose jobs.


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