UN calls on Serbia to stop interfering in Kosovo

By Xinhua

Pristina : The UN mission in Kosovo (Unmik) has called on Serbia to respect the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and stop interfering with the local Serbs in Kosovo.

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“It (resolution) is still in force, and all parties, including Serbia, should respect it,” UN spokesman, Alexander Ivanko, said Wednesday.

He urged Belgrade to cooperate in re-establishing two custom points on Kosovo’s northern border. Angry Serbs set them on fire, two days after Kosovo unilaterally declared independence Feb 17.

“If Belgrade says publicly that Resolution 1244 should be respected, we expect them to put their money where their mouth is,” said Ivanko.

“We are trying to re-establish the courts, we are trying to re-establish the customs,” he said, stressing that it will take time.

He also called on Belgrade to allow Serb police officers to return to Kosovo Service Police (KPS) and stop strengthening Serb parallel structures in education, health and administration.

Meanwhile, Kosovo authorities called on Serb police officers to return to the police service.

KPS spokesman Veton Elshani said some Serbs are showing back at work. More than 200 Serb police officers abandoned the service in February, refusing to serve under KPS command.

Speaking on Serbia’s upcoming parliamentary elections May 11, the Unmik said Serbia should respect its mandate on the elections.

“According to Resolution 1244, only Unmik can call elections in Kosovo,” said Ivanko.

Ethnic Serbs in Kosovo have participated in every Serbian election in the past. They have mostly voted the Serb Radical Party of Vojislav Seselj, who is at The Hague, indicted with war crime charges in former Yugoslav conflicts.

Except the general elections of 2001, the Serb community has boycotted four general and local elections in Kosovo after the 1999 Kosovo war.