KFOR blames media and politicians; talks "some tensions"

A spokesman for KFOR says Monday's Kosovo special police raid in northern, Serb areas was "regular" activity.

Source: B92, Prva TV
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(screenshot, Prva TV)
(screenshot, Prva TV)

And what is in fact the biggest threat to peace are politicians and the media, said Vincenzo Grasso.

Asked what the situation in Kosovo was like this morning, Grasso replied that it was under control.

"Yesterday there were some tensions, but luckily they remained in isolated locations and were completed during the day, so I have to say that it is peaceful," he told Prva TV.

Asked with whose permission of Pristina's forces stormed the North, perpetrating brutal violence against Serbs there, Grasso said that what happened yesterday was a police operation carried out after the Kosovo prosecution issued arrest warrants.

"The operation was carried out in several municipalities, including municipalities in the north. As far as approval is concerned, the Kosovo police is fully responsible for the rule of law. And when they carry out these duties, they do it without additional permission," said the spokesman of KFOR, the NATO force in Kosovo.

Asked if it was true that Hungarian KFOR members wanted to react when they saw how Kosovo police were treating local population, Grasso said this this information was "not entirely accurate."

"That did not happen. The Hungarian battalion is part of KFOR and no attempt was made to intervene without the approval of KFOR. They were ready to intervene, but they did not try to intervene," explained Grasso.

When the interviewer said that footage from yesterday leads to the conclusion KFOR who was behind the Kosovo police, not between them and the people, thus having the police's back, Grasso reiterated that KFOR was monitoring the situation and not interfering because yesterday's operation had nothing to do with KFOR's mandate.

"At this moment, peace in Kosovo is most threatened by rhetoric, propaganda, provocation and sometimes false statements by politicians. I've been here for almost 20 months and there were no major incidents. The greatest threat to peace and stability is caused by the rhetoric used and abused by some leaders, as well as the media taking part in it," said Grasso.

Asked if and in which situation KFOR would have reacted yesterday to protect Serbs, Grasso did not give a concrete answer: "We are the third line of response. The Kosovo police worked and ended the action during the day with no big problems, except for that in Zubin Potok, so if the Kosovo police does not seek our intervention, we will not intervene. Unless the situation is extremely bad, if it threatens peace and stability."

He also said that the KFOR command was constantly monitoring the situation and that there was an exchange of information. "We were in contact even with the Serbian authorities. Everyone was informed about these operations in advance, and there was no surprise," he said.
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