NATO urged Kosovo today to ease tensions with Serbia, a day after its government stormed municipal buildings to usher in newly elected mayors in the predominantly Serb north, Reuters reported, citing BTA.
The resulting clashes between Kosovo police and protesters opposing the ethnic Albanian mayors prompted Serbia to put its army on full alert and move units closer to the border.
“We call on the institutions in Kosovo to immediately de-escalate tensions and appeal to all parties to resolve the situation through dialogue,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu wrote on Twitter.
She said KFOR, the 3,800-strong peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, would remain vigilant.
In the town of Zvecan in northern Kosovo, law enforcement used tear gas yesterday to disperse the crowd in front of the municipality building. The protesters were trying to prevent the newly elected mayor, who is ethnic Albanian, from taking office after local elections that Serbs boycotted.
Serbs in northern Kosovo do not accept independence from Serbia, declared in 2008, and still see Belgrade as their capital.
Ethnic Albanians make up over 90 percent of Kosovo’s population, with Serbs in the majority only in the north.