Two Kosovo Albanians died overnight of injuries sustained in violent protests against the UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari's plan for the Serbian province's future status, UN police said on Sunday in Kosovo's capital Pristina.
"It is totally regrettable that two lives were lost as a result of wanton breach of security at the government buildings," said UN police commissioner Stephen Curtis, adding police were compelled " to take defensive measures to restore order."
Curtis said in a statement that these are two of the four people who sustained serious injuries on Saturday when United Nations and Kosovo police officers used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse several thousand Kosovo Albanians protesting the UN plan they say falls short of full independence for Kosovo.
Kosovo Police Service spokesman Veton Elsani said that 15 persons had been arrested on Saturday for violation of public order and peace during the demonstrations organized by Albin Kurti 's Self-Determination Movement.
Kosovo has been under UN administration since 1999, when NATO bombings halted Serbia's crackdown against the insurgent ethnic Albanians, who comprise 90 percent of the 2 million people.
Ahtisaari's plan, which was unveiled this month, calls for internationally supervised self-rule for Kosovo, a compromise between Kosovo's demand of outright independence and Serbia's claim of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
A final round of talks between Serbia and Kosovo about the province's status is due to begin on Feb. 21 in Vienna. Ahtisaari hopes to present his plan to the UN Security Council in late March.
Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Agim Ceku issued a statement on Sunday condemning the protests, calling on " all Kosovo citizens to contribute to the stability of the country, as they have done so far."