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NATO on standby for unrest in Mitrovica

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NATO on standby for unrest in Mitrovica

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Tensions in the ethnically divided Kosovan city of Mitrovica are soaring again over attempts by local authorities to take control of two border posts.

Serbs in the area have set up roadblocks and warned of a violent backlash if Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian government sends in its own police and customs officers. NATO says it will not allow its peacekeeping efforts to be derailed.

Its Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said:

“We will not allow that achievement to be put at risk. KFOR’s mission is to maintain a safe and secure environment and we will continue to do so firmly, carefully and impartially”.

But Serbs in Mitrovica do no believe the UN-backed mission is impartial.

One local representative said: “It’s a fact that they aren’t neutral anymore and are not acting within the instructions of the UN and Resolution 1244. Their obligation is to provide security for all citizens here they have not done that for the past 12 years.”

An ethnic Albanian policeman died in rioting that erupted during an attempt by Pristina to take control of the checkpoints in July.