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Kosovo Albanians poised to attack Serbs, official
March 20, 2008

UNMIK spokesman in Kosovo Aleksandr Ivanko says UN has opened an inquiry into Monday’s clashes in Kosovska Mitrovica while the UN police makes a gradual return to the Serb-populated town.

"We have launched several criminal investigations relating in particular to the cases of murder and attempted murder," said Ivanko.

One Ukranian UN member was killed from violence.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko criticized UNMIK saying that UNMIK was responsible for the death of the Ukrainian policeman because of poor planning.

A Kosovo Serb who is a member of the Kosovo Protection Service, Nikola Vukomanovic, has also been seriously injured and is a coma.

Kosovo Serb political representatives, however, accused KFOR and UNMIK of causing the incidents in which some one hundred persons were injured and a member of international forces was killed.

Chief of the Forum for Interethnic Relations, Dusan Janjic, says that the violence was planned and that whoever planned it is working with Kosovo Albanian so-called Prime Minister Hasim Taci.

"If Thaçi had requested these events, he could not have known better actions… Now UNMIK is under pressure from the EU and Kosovo institutions to leave… If behind these acts stands the President’s advisor, Kosovo’s Prime Minister, then this is suicide," said Janjic.

Serb leaders Milan Ivanovic and Marko Jaksic said at a press conference that incidents were staged by Washington, Brussels and Pristina in order to intimidate Serbs and compromise UN. Ivanovic says that it was a US policemen that opened fire on the Serb civillians that initiated the violence.

Regional UNMIK Head and a US diplomat with experience in Darfur, Gerard Gallucci, whose resignation was rejected last night, submitted a report on the violence in which he says that the raid was a "badly planned operation to restore law and order in the north, which has led to the disappearance of law and order."

Gallucci's report is allegedly also critical of the choice of dates to capture the court in Mitrovica.

"The choice of the date – 17 March – the fourth anniversary of the last episode of the ethnic cleansing of the Kosovo Serbs, and the decision to arrest and transport the Serbs to Pristina looks as if it was created in order to inflame the Serb feelings. If, on some other day, the police simply asked the people to leave the premises before trying to arrest them, perhaps we could have announced a victory without a price tag. One positive aspect is that during the events Monday, Serbs did not disturb or attack Albanians in northern Mitrovica, and they cooperated with UNMIK during the evacuation of our civilians," allegedly wrote Gallucci.

Gallucci also notes that the so-called Prime Minister Taci told him that he has a hard time keeping the "Drenica boys" at bey, a reference that Albanian Muslim extremists, based in Kosovo village of Drenica, are poised to attack Serbs and are pressing for a green light from Taci who is being advised by the West.

Last night, Washington approved arming of Kosovo Albanians.

Presidents of Serb municipalities from northern Kosovo and UNMIK agreed in Zvecan to continue cooperation while more than 1,000 Serbs protested peacefully in downtown Gracanica against unilateral proclamation of independence of Kosovo and in support for suspended Serb members of the Kosovo Police Service.


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