1 The situation is tense in the north as local elections approach
2 European Union Police Are Under Attack
3 Paris says it is “very concerned about the situation”
In northern Kosovo, tensions, already regular in the region, have recently increased in the run-up to local elections in municipalities with a majority Serb population.
To the point that Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani announced on Saturday a postponement to April 23 of the elections originally scheduled for December 18 and that the main Serbian party said it wanted to boycott.
The former Serbian province of Kosovo, the scene of a war in the late 90s between the Yugoslav army and the Kosovar separatists in which NATO got involved, declared its independence in 2008.
This proclamation of independence was recognized by the United States and most EU countries but not by Belgrade, which encourages the Serb majority in northern Kosovo to challenge the authority of Pristina. The Serbs number around 120,000 out of a total Kosovo population of some 1.8 million people, the vast majority of whom are of Albanian origin.
During the night from Saturday to Sunday, the European Union police, deployed in the region as part of the EULEX mission, said they had been targeted by a stun grenade, which did not cause any injuries in its ranks.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Kosovo Serbs, protesting against the arrest of a former police officer, erected barricades on a road in the north of the country on Saturday and Sunday, blocking traffic at two important border crossing points with Serbia.
Several hours after the roadblocks were put in place, police said they suffered three successive attacks with firearms on Saturday evening on one of the roads leading to the border.
On Monday, France said it was “very concerned about the situation and strongly condemns the unacceptable attack against the EULEX Kosovo mission as well as all acts of violence on the ground”.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called “strongly on the parties to the greatest restraint and to show responsibility to reduce tensions”.
In its press release, France recalled its support for European mediation between Serbia and Kosovo, which should make it possible to “progress towards a global agreement” and urged “the two parties to recommit to dialogue”.
letelegramme Fr Trans