The US strongly condemned today’s actions of the Kosovo government in the north, when special units of the Kosovo Police, after meeting resistance from Kosovo Serb citizens, forcibly entered the buildings of the Provisional Municipal Authorities with three ethnic Albanian mayors, and removed Serbian flags, replacing them with Kosovo ones. Anthony Blinken, Chris Murphy, and Jeffrey Hovenier all reacted.
„We strongly condemn the actions by the Government of Kosovo that are escalating tensions in the north and increasing instability. We call on Prime Minister Albin Kurti to immediately halt these violent measures and refocus on the EU-facilitated Dialogue,“ tweeted US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
The United States strongly condemns the actions by the Government of Kosovo to access municipal buildings in the north of Kosovo by force, actions it took against the advice of the United States and Kosovo’s European partners. These actions have sharply and unnecessarily escalated tensions, undermining our efforts to help normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia and will have consequences for our bilateral relations with Kosovo. We call on Prime Minister Albin Kurti to reverse course and on all sides to refrain from any further actions that will inflame tensions and promote conflict.
US Ambassador Jeffrey Hovenier, who was the first to react while the action was still taking place, called for a halt to „violent measures.“
„The United States condemns the ongoing action by Kosovan authorities to access municipal buildings in the north of Kosovo. Today’s violent measures should be immediately halted,“ he tweeted.
US Senator Chris Murphy, who recently visited the region, reacted strongly, confirming that he was surprised by the action. Murphy also revealed that he spoke with the Department of State’s special counsellor, Derek Chollet.
„Just off the phone with Department of State Counselor Derek Chollet about this troubling development. In my meeting Monday in Pristina with PM Kurti, he made no reference of a plan to access municipal buildings. As a friend of Kosovo, I am caught totally by surprise and he should end this provocation immediately,” said Murphy earlier.
While re-tweeting the US Ambassador Jeffrey Hovenier’s post condemning today’s actions of the Kosovo authorities in the north with a request to Pristina to immediately halt what he described as violent measures, Murphy also said:
“Yes, these municipalities are part of Kosovo and under Pristina’s jurisdiction. These officials have the technical legal right to access these buildings. But at this exact moment, with the situation so tense in the north, it is an intentionally provocative and unnecessary step.”
On the other hand, the Kosovo Interior Minister boasted about how the three Albanian mayors of Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic entered the former Serbian municipal buildings a day after taking the oath.
Today’s Kosovo police action began at around 11 am, when these mayors first attempted, accompanied by the regular units of the Kosovo police, to enter the municipal buildings under the control of the Provisional Authorities. After they failed to do so, due to residents gathering protest in all three municipalities, and after air raid sirens were heard, strong forces of special units of the Kosovo Police entered these municipalities. They entered the municipal buildings by force while citizens resisted. Later in the afternoon, the police took down the Serbian flags and displayed Kosovo flags.
During that time, the leadership of Srpska Lista and a large number of citizens were attending Vucic’s rally in Belgrade.
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