General

‘NATO refused Serbia’s request to return its troops to Kosovo’

NATO peacekeepers, known as the Kosovo Force, or KFOR, have refused Serbia's formal request to deploy its security forces to Kosovo, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday.

Vucic in December requested that up to 1,000 police and military personnel return to Kosovo in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

UN Security Council Resolution 1244 stipulates that Serbia has right to deploy up to 1,000 members of its security forces in Kosovo.

"We all knew and expected this answer ... They believe that there is no need for the return of the army and armed forces of Serbia to the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, referring to Resolution 1244 and saying that in accordance with it, they play their role. They did not refer to the part of the resolution according to which it is possible to reject it because there is no such thing," Vucic told reporters.

The tension between Kosovo and Serbia recently escalated after a series of events in the region.

Lately, a Serbian boy and a young man were shot and wounded on Friday in southern Kosovo by Albanian extremists on Orthodox Christmas Eve.

The Serbian government's office for Kosovo demanded urgent and decisive action from the international community over the incident.

The Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7 for three days under the Gregorian calendar. Orthodox Christian Serbs in Kosovo gathered in front of local churches on Christmas Eve to light yule logs before a midnight service.

Kosovar police later announced that a 33-year-old man who is a member of the Kosovo Security Forces was detained as a suspect in the attack.

Kosovo, predominantly inhabited by Albanians, broke away from Serbia in 1999 and declared independence in 2008. But Serbia has not recognized the move and sees its former province as part of its territory.

Tensions have been simmering between the two Balkan countries, though they appeared to ease somewhat following the removal of barricades blocking the main border crossing between them.

Earlier, there had been a row about license plates, with the government in Pristina demanding ethnic Serbs surrender Serbian-issued vehicle license plates to replace them with plates issued by Kosovo.

Source: Anadolu Agency