05 May 2007

U.S. warns citizens to be cautious in Kosovo

Agence France Presse (English) - February 2, 2007 Friday 12:59 PM GMT


PRISTINA, Serbia, Feb 2 2007 - The United States' diplomatic mission in Kosovo on Friday issued a warning to its citizens to be cautious during ongoing efforts to settle the future status of the disputed Serbian province.


"The next several weeks will see a number of important political events in Kosovo, including the possibility of demonstrations and other public manifestations," it said in a statement.


It said US citizens in Kosovo, whose ethnic Albanian majority wants the province to become independence, should maintain a high level of vigilance since any demonstrations could become confrontational and possible escalate into violence.


"American citizens are therefore urged to avoid roadblocks and areas of demonstrations or where large crowds are gathered, if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations."


United Nations envoy Martti Ahtisaari on Friday presented his anxiously awaited proposal to resolve Kosovo's status to the Serbian authorities in Belgrade. He was to due to submit it to the Kosovar authorities in Pristina later in the day.


The southern Serbian province has been run by a UN mission since 1999, when NATO ended a crackdown by Serbian forces on Kosovo's nascent independence movement.


Ethnic Albanians, who make up about 90 percent of Kosovo's population of two million, have been pushing for independence. Belgrade staunchly opposes this demand, offering instead to give Kosovo broad autonomy.