05 November 2006

Serbs in Kosovo seek NATO protection

United Press International, October 10, 2006

NAPLES, Italy, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Serbian President Boris Tadic has asked NATO to provide security for Serbs living in the Albanian-majority province of Kosovo.

In talks in Italy Monday, U.S. Adm. Harry Ulrich, NATO's Southeast Europe flank commander, and Tadic agreed the allied forces stationed in Kosovo should provide security for all residents of Kosovo, the Serbian news agency Beta reported.

Kosovo has been administered by a U.N. civil mission and NATO protection troops have been deployed in the province to curb ethnic conflicts since violence flared in 1999.

U.N.-led talks between the Serbian government in Belgrade and Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian leaders have been ongoing since February but have reached no consensus.

Leaders of ethnic-Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's population of 1.8 million, insist on independence from Belgrade, while the Belgrade government, representing 100,000 Kosovo Serbs, says the province will forever be Serbia's integral part.