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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:21, February 15, 2007
UN police chief in Kosovo resigns over protestors death
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UN police commissioner in Kosovo Stephen Curtis resigned on Wednesday after two ethnic Albanians died of injuries inflicted by rubber bullets in last Saturday's violent protest against UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari's plan for the Serbian province's future status.

Curtis tendered the resignation in Kosovo's capital Pristina at the request of Joachim Ruecker, chief of the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

"I have demanded his resignation as a matter of principles and political accountability," Ruecker said, adding that a special international prosecutor would investigate the alleged "excessive force" by UN and Kosovo police.

Kosovo's Interior Minister Fatmir Rexhepi resigned on Monday accepting "moral responsibility" for last Saturday's deadly event.

Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku has said the police used " excessive force," including rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse several thousand Kosovo Albanians protesting the UN plan they say falls short of full independence for Kosovo.

Up to 80 people including eight police officers were injured in the demonstration on Saturday, which was organized by Kosovo's radical nationalist Self-Determination Movement.

Curtis said on Sunday that he had to apply "defensive measures" after some 3,000 demonstrators had tried to break through police barriers and storm the Kosovo parliament and government building.

Curtis will be replaced by his deputy, Norwegian Trygve Kalleberg.

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 late March.

Source: Xinhua


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