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Kosovo to set up institute to document 'Serbian war crimes'

FILE: A KFOR soldier from France looks at Kosovar Serbs blocking the road connecting Serbia with the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, near Cabra, Kosovo.
FILE: A KFOR soldier from France looks at Kosovar Serbs blocking the road connecting Serbia with the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, near Cabra, Kosovo. Copyright Bela Szandelszky/AP
Copyright Bela Szandelszky/AP
By Euronews with AP
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The decision comes days after the European Union’s envoy for the western Balkans paid a surprise visit to Kosovo.

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Kosovo is setting up an institute to document Serbia’s crimes against its population in the 1998-1999 war, the country's prime minister said on Wednesday.

Albin Kurti said the institute would document the war crimes so “the Kosovar Albanians’ tragic history suffered at the hands of criminal Serbia is more widely known.”

The war between Serbia and Kosovo killed more than 10,000 people, mostly Kosovo Albanians. It ended after a 78-day NATO bombing campaign that compelled Serbian forces to withdraw from Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008 - a move Belgrade refuses to recognise.

"Wounds are still fresh,” Kurti said, adding that more than 1,600 bodies are still missing. He accused Serbia of burying them in unmarked graves and refusing to share their whereabouts.

Fourteen years after the end of the war, tensions between Kosovo and Serbia remain high, raising fears among Western powers of another conflict as the war in Ukraine rages on.

Normalisation talks between Kosovo and Serbia, facilitated by the European Union, have failed to make progress, particularly following a September shootout between masked Serb gunmen and Kosovo police that left four people dead and ratcheted up tensions in the region.

The EU and the United States are pressing both countries to implement agreements that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kurti reached earlier this year.

Both Serbia and Kosovo have said they want to join the 27-nation European block, but EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said their refusal to compromise is jeopardising their chances for membership.

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