Macedonia, Kosovo to jointly clamp down on arms smuggling

20:27, May 14, 2010      

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Macedonia and Kosovo agreed Friday to strengthen cooperation and coordination in efforts to clamp down on criminal activities on their border.

"The best approach in the struggle against the criminal activities in the region is through cooperation and good coordination," Macedonian Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska and her Kosovo counterpart Bajram Rexhepi said.

The two ministers met Friday here in the Macedonian capital after a series of armed incidents in Macedonia during the past two weeks.

The Macedonian police on Thursday evening carried out a raid in the village of Novo Selo in the Tetovo region in western Macedonia, seizing a significant quantity of weapons and arresting three people.

One day before that, the Macedonian special police forces shot and killed four people near the village of Radusa, who were trying to smuggle a large quantity of weapons from Kosovo into Macedonia.

At the end of last month, Macedonian police seized a large quantity of weapons and munitions near a village on Macedonia's border with Kosovo after a shootout, in which one man was said to have been killed and another managed to flee to Kosovo.

Jankulovska passed onto Rexhepi a list of notorious criminals who are thought to have fled and live in Kosovo.

"Incidents of this type raise the concerns and the tensions among the ethnic Macedonians, although they pose no serious danger to the stability of the two neighbors and the whole region," Jankulovska said.

Kosovo's top police officer said he appreciated the cooperation between the two police forces, which was to the benefit of both countries.

"I think that the incidents in one country have an impact on all its neighbors. Criminals are not welcome in Kosovo either," Rexhepi said.



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