28 October 2006

Main bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica reopened

Radio Television Serbia, Belgrade, Thursday, September 28, 2006 12:40

The main bridge over the Ibar River in Kosovska Mitrovica was reopened this morning at 7:00 a.m. for civilian traffic after it was closed Monday evening after a clash between several Albanians and one Serb occurred in its immediate vicinity. The Serb sustained light injuries in the clash. The UNMIK and Kosovo police presence has been reinforced near the bridge and currently the situation in Kosovska Mitrovica is calm.

The bridge over the Ibar, which divides Kosovska Mitrovica into the southern, Albanian part and the northern, Serb part was originally closed for civilian traffic after a grenade attack on the Dolce Vita Cafe in the northern part on August 26 when nine people, most of them Serbs, were hurt.

The decision to reopen the bridge over the Ibar is contrary to Serb requests to keep the bridge closed until a decision is made on the future status of Kosovo and Metohija. The president of the Serb National Council of Northern Mitrovica, Nebojsa Jovic, assessed that the decision to reopen the bridge was scandalous.

"Unless this decision also involves mandatory control of all citizens crossing the bridge from either side it can very easily be interpreted as a message to Albanian extremists that they now have a third opportunity to do what they failed in two previous attempts," said Jovic.