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EU defense ministers optimistic about Kosovo while fresh violence shadows
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08:26, February 22, 2008

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· An Eye on Kosovo
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The European Union defense ministers considered the situation in Kosovo stable while fresh violence erupted on the Kosovo and Serbia border on Thursday.

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung, who came from Kosovo to Brdo of Slovenia for the informal meeting of the EU defense ministers, said that the situation in Kosovo is under control, especially with the support of the NATO-led Kosovo peacekeeping force (KFOR).

Other EU military officials echoed the view that the situation in post-independent Kosovo is stable and there is no reason for concern, the Slovenian Press Agency reported.

However, Jung believed that it is necessary for the KFOR to continue its duties in Kosovo as the police force there is not adequate for the control of the administrative line with Serbia.

The key is to help Kosovo build up a security force capable of tackling problems by its own, Jung said.

Meanwhile, several hundred former Serbian army reservists attacked police with stones and burning tires at the Merdare crossing on Kosovo and Serbia border in protest of the independence of the Serbia's southern province.

The violence was the latest in a series of incidents in the wake of Sunday's unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo.

Kosovo Serb protesters on Tuesday destroyed two UN customs checkpoints and several vehicles on the border between Kosovo and central Serbia.

Protesters on Sunday attacked the U.S. and Slovenian embassies in Belgrade, inflicting property destructions of the two embassies.

Kosovo was a southern autonomous province within Serbia before the breakup of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Among its population of 2 million, over 90 percent are ethnic Albanians and about 7 percent are Serbs.

The breakaway province has been under the UN administration since 1999.


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