Friday, January 07, 2005

UNMIK, Kfor dismiss Serbian Radicals' threat of fresh Kosovo war

UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] officials are not commenting at all on the threat by Tomislav Nikolic, deputy chairman of the Radical Party of Serbia [SRS], that Serbia will go war again over Kosova [Kosovo], because, according to them, this is just part of the internal political conflict in Serbia.

Refusing to comment on these statements because they are political, Kfor [NATO-led Kosovo Force] officials said that in military terms Kosova is not threatened by anyone.

In an interview given to a Serbian media outlet, asked whether he expected negotiations on Kosova's final status to begin in 2005, Tomislav Nikolic said that Serbia will go to war over Kosova. He assessed that the beginning of 2005 will be quite difficult, Serbia will face great challenges, and that the consent of all those who live in Serbia will be needed for this.

Criticizing Nikolic, Nenad Canak, chairman of the League of Vojvodina Social Democrats, stated that the "war in Kosova that is being announced by Belgrade will serve to start the negotiating positions in the talks on the separation of Kosova based on Dobrica Cosic's model. Meanwhile, on the other hand, it will also serve to cover up with a war the inability of the current government in Belgrade to resolve any problem in its society."

However, UNMIK Spokesperson in Mitrovice [Kosovska Mitrovica] Georgy Kakuk said that it is not worth commenting on these statements that announce a "hot spring" in Kosova. "These statements are a part of the internal political conflict in Serbia, and UNMIK does not want to comment on them," he said, denying this was being assessed as a threat for Kosova.

Neither did Kfor officials want to comment on the statements of the Serbian officials. Nevertheless, it is said that Kfor, with 17,000 soldiers, is able to provide a safe and peaceful environment in Kosova in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the Technical-Military Accord of Kumanove [Kumanovo]. "There is no threat to Kosova. Kfor soldiers are in the field day and night and we know what is happening. This force is close to the citizens and it is completely capable of responding to every threat," said Kfor Information Office chief Ives de Kermorvant. According to him, the units can move very quickly from one place to another and Kfor has reserve units that can deploy anywhere in Kosova.

Furthermore, according to the Kfor official, in case there is a need, NATO can reinforce Kfor within a short period of time. "The forces are trained for such a mission and this was also demonstrated in October last year during Operation 'Determined Commitment 04,' when 2,000 NATO troops came to Kfor's support," said De Kermorvant.

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