22 January 2007

UN police in Kosovo increase security after unspecified threat

Associated Press, Monday, November 27, 2006 6:19 AM

PRISTINA, Serbia-U.N. police in Kosovo increased security measures Monday after receiving an unspecified but credible threat.

The U.N. police, part of a larger international force that has patrolled Kosovo since the end of the war in 1999, did not specify the nature of the threat or provide any details about how the information was received.

"This current threat is being taken seriously by authorities, and citizens will see an increase in police activity and presence," the force said in a written statement. NATO-led peacekeepers also said they will be more visible on the streets.

A demonstration by opponents of negotiations with Serbia is planned for Tuesday in Kosovo's provincial capital, though the U.N. statement did not directly link the threat to the scheduled rally.

The organizer of the demonstration, a group called Self-determination, has in the past vandalized U.N. vehicles and buildings, and the group's leader, Albin Kurti, has been apprehended several times.

The U.N. statement said attacks against U.N. personnel or property would be "destructive and counterproductive" and would be a setback for Kosovo at a critical stage in the negotiations with Serbia.

The U.N. has been mediating talks since February aimed at determining Kosovo's final, postwar status. The province's ethnic Albanians want independence from Serbia, while Belgrade is insisting on keeping at least some control over the province.

The two sides fought a war over the province in 1998-1999. Bombing by NATO aircraft ended the Serb crackdown on Kosovo's separatists.