Kosovo Serbs see EU mission as ‚occupation‘

The [EUnzais] mission is not welcome. We will boycott it and use all methods of civic resistance,“ ….

Kosovo Serbs see EU mission as ‚occupation‘

16 February 2008, 12:16 CET
(KOSOVSKA MITROVICA) – The EU police and justice mission aimed to help Kosovo’s transition to independence is a form of „occupation,“ Kosovo Serb leader Milan Ivanovic said Saturday.“In essence, the mission has the characteristics of an occupation and it will be accepted neither by Serbia nor by the Serbs in Kosovo,“ Ivanovic told AFP hours after Brussels approved the mission’s deployment.

European Union nations have agreed to send a 2,000-strong mission to train and mentor police, judges and customs officials in the mainly ethnic Albanian southern Serbian province which is expected to declare independence Sunday.

Ivanovic said Kosovo’s Serbs — who make up around 120,000 of the province’s 1.8 million people and want to stay part of Serbia — „will oppose this mission by all legal means.“

„The EU mission is not welcome. We will boycott it and use all methods of civic resistance,“ Ivanovic said.

Serbian nationalist Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said Thursday that by sending the mission, Brussels „is brutally violating international law and (UN Security Council) Reolution 1244.“

That resolution confirmed Serbian sovereignty over Kosovo but established the province as a UN protectorate in 1999, after NATO bombed Belgrade to end a conflict between Serbian forces and Kosovo Albanian separatist militants.

Ivanovic said the EU mission was „neither legal nor legitimate,“ adding it was „adopted against the UN chapter and fundamental principles of inviolability of borders.“

„We will continue to respect UN Resolution 1244 … Serbia is a member of the UN and not the EU and this decision is a violation of Resolution 1244,“ Ivanovic said.

The EU green light for sending the mission to Kosovo does not mean that staff will be immediately despatched to the UN-run province. The EU is coordinating the deployment with the United Nations and Kosovo authorities.

In the days after Kosovo declares independence the so-called EULEX Kosovo mission will begin a 120-day countdown to taking over policing duties from the United Nations.

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