Saturday, October 1, 2011

KFOR expands zone at Jarinje, Serbs set up new roadblock

Members of KFOR launched Friday another quick action and expanded the security zone at Jarinje administrative crossing, thus practically taking over the barricade recently set up by Serbs in response to the removal of the old roadblock built in the night between September 15 and 16.

Only about ten minutes after UNMIK Acting Chief Farid Zarif visited Jarinje checkpoint, KFOR expanded the security zone. KFOR soldiers rapidly descended from their base to the barricade, after which the local Serbs retreated, Tanjug's reporter said.

Shortly after, KFOR put up warning signs on the perimeters of the expanded zone, and warned the citizens over megaphone to stay away.

It is now difficult to see the administrative crossing of Jarinje since the security zone has been expanded to several hundred meters from the checkpoint.

The citizens who retreated using two trucks, have built another obstacle on the main road leading to Jarinje.

UNMIK chief confers with citizens at Jarinje

UNMIK Acting Chief Farid Zarif conferred Friday with local Serbs at the administrative crossing of Jarinje and proposed that they remove the barricade, adding that the international forces will in return stop transporting Kosovo customs officers to the crossings every day.

The citizens refused and qualified as absolutely unacceptable that Kosovo customs officers be deployed at the administrative crossing in northern Kosovo.

The local Serbs said that Kosovo customs officers should not be deployed in northern Kosovo, since that is not the border, pointing out that the customs are the element of state and that they cannot accept that the Kosovo instutitions expand to the north.

Replying to Zarif's remark that the control of the crossings has already existed for some time, the citizens said that they would accept the control of UNMIK, which they trust, but not Kosovo customs officers or EULEX.

The citizens said they are afraid they will have the same destiny as the Serbs in southern part of the province, and asked of UNMIK to protect them, but Zarif cautioned them not to approach to KFOR lines, adding that nothing can be solved through violence.

We need a period of peace, he underlined, adding that the transition period has to be peaceful, in order to renew talks which are the only way leading to a solution.

Zarif and the local Serbs agreed to maintain direct contacts in the future.

After the informal meeting with citizens, Zarif went to Leposavic, where he will confer with Municipal President Branko Nincic.

KFOR completes operation of taking over barricades

Deputy Commander of the U.S. unit in the KFOR base above the Jarinje administrative crossing Larry Wilbanks said that the Friday operation of KFOR has been completed by taking over the barricade set by local Serbs on the road near Jarinje in northern Kosovo.

In the talks with President of the Leposavic municipality Branko Ninic and the gathered citizens, Wilbanks said that the aim of today's operation was to remove the barricades and secure the freedom of movement.

Wilbanks called on the citizens to remain peaceful and asked Ninic to make sure they do.

Ninic told the U.S. officer that the citizens will remain peaceful, noting, however, that they will respond to use of force and KFOR operations by setting up new barricades.

Wilbanks stated that, as long as the citizens remain peaceful, KFOR will not act.

When asked how much further the KFOR zone will be expanded, Wilbanks said he is not familiar with that, adding that the KFOR Command is to make that decision.

KFOR members received the order for today's operation from the KFOR Command, Wibanks confirmed to the journalists.

When asked about the citizens whose houses are located in the expanded zone of KFOR, he said the issue is being considered.

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