'NATO will stop any violence in Kosovo'

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Friday in Kosovo that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would stop any violence amid heightened tensions as a resolution on Kosovo's future approaches.

'NATO will stop any violence in Kosovo'
"I come to Pristina to give a signal ... that KFOR is here and will stay here to protect every Kosovo citizen, majority and minority alike," de Hoop Scheffer told reporters.

KFOR is the NATO-led mission that has policed Kosovo since Serbian security forces were ousted from the province in mid-1999. The presence was cut from 50,000 to the current 17,000.

"If we need more forces we will have more forces, it's up to the KFOR commander to ask for them," de Hoop Scheffer said.

Kosovo has been under a United Nations administration over the past eight years. The majority Albanians are preparing to proclaim independence in short order after recent talks with Serbia again failed.

Serbia has threatened "action plans," such as economic and physical blockades of the Kosovo.

Though Belgrade officials said no military action was planned, tensions have been rising steadily as the possible proclamation of independence nears, particularly in the northen section of Kosovo, where Serbs make up the majority.

"We understand tensions are involved, but ... to everyone, violence is not an option, violence won't be tolerated and can't be tolerated. KFOR will do whatever is necessary to fulfil its mandate," de Hoop Scheffer warned.

The West, including the United States and NATO, have backed a plan for Kosovo's supervised independence, but Serbian ally Russia has blocked it in the UN, raising the prospect of a unilateral proclamation and a series of bilateral recognitions.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Aralık 2007, 13:27
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