NATO must urgently protect Kosovo Serbs – Belgrade
Serbs in Kosovo are under attack by the ethnic Albanian government in Pristina and NATO’s KFOR peacekeepers have a duty to stop it, General Milan Mojsilovic, the head of the Serbian General Staff, said on Friday.
“The Pristina regime of [PM] Albin Kurti is carrying out a horrible pogrom against the Serbian people in Kosovo-Metohija. Serbs are targeted every day, solely because of their names, and because they do not want to leave their ancestral homes. The terror of Kurti’s regime is becoming physically unbearable,” Mojsilovic said in a brief televised address.
Belgrade is “following the events with great concern, and demands urgent measures to protect the Serbs and their right to exist,” he added.
Asking KFOR and all other international institutions in the breakaway province to act, Mojsilovic noted that Serbia has carried out all of its obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the Kumanovo military-technical agreement, and others, “but it is clear today that the international community has not fulfilled theirs.”
If ordered, the Serbian Army will “carry out its mission to the fullest,” in accordance with the constitution and the UN Charter, Mojsilovic said, ending the two-minute address without taking questions.
Serbia’s top general met with President Aleksandar Vucic earlier in the day, following the violent arrest of yet another Serb in the north of Kosovo and the appearance of videos on social media showing heavily armed ethnic Albanian troops deploying near the town of Kosovska Mitrovica.
Kurti’s government has detained more than a dozen ethnic Serbs in recent weeks. Pristina has presented the arrests as enforcing the ‘rule of law’ on the entire territory of Kosovo. Belgrade has described them as a ‘hybrid war’ intended to intimidate the local community and condoned by the West.
Meanwhile, the US and EU have demanded the unconditional release of three ethnic Albanian ‘special police’ who were detained on the Serbian side of the administrative line last week.
NATO took control of Kosovo in 1999, after waging a 78-day air war against Serbia on behalf of ethnic Albanian separatists. Though UNSCR 1244 affirmed Serbia’s territorial integrity, the provisional government in Pristina declared independence in 2008. Belgrade’s refusal to recognize the secession has been supported by about half of the world’s countries, including Russia, China, and India.