Kosovo’s Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi has ordered the arrest of two Serb officials who entered Kosovo to attempt negotiations on a recent trade import ban.
Kosovo’s Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi has ordered the arrest of two Serb officials who have entered Kosovo.
Rexhepi told Balkan Insight this morning that Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo, Goran Bogdanovic, and the head delegation for negotiation, Borislav Stefanovic, had entered Kosovo illegally.
“Kosovo police have been ordered to arrest them as soon as they meet them,” Rexhepi said.
He added that every Serb official entering the country was required to inform the International Civilian Office, ICO, and await the Kosovan government’s consent, before entering.
Bogdanovic and Stefanovic reportedly entered Kosovo last night without prior permission from Kosovo’s government.
“We will not send a special police team because the police are over there,” Rexhepi said. He declined to comment on whether Kosovo Serb police in the north would obey the order.
Earlier, Stefanovic reportedly told Radio Free Europe that he was not trying to provoke the situation but rather to help it. But Rexhepi said that Stefanovic and Begdanovic were not helping improve the situation in the north.
“They [Stefanovic, Bogdanovic] have encouraged the local population there to block the roads and are not contributing to improve the situation,” Rexhepi said.
Initially, Stefanovic and Bogdanovic were not allowed to enter Kosovo via the Jarinje administrative crossing border, Kosovo media reported. But they entered through secondary roads during late Sunday.
Earlier today media reports indicated that Stefanovic had managed to agree with KFOR Commander Erhard Buehler on the opening of two administrative crossings at Jarinje and Brnjak. Stefanovic was reported as saying he wanted to find ways to reopen talks about the remaining border points.
Bogdanovic reportedly announced that the government would send food and medical supplies to citizens in northern Kosovo on Monday, and expressed belief that the package would enter Kosovo on the grounds of it being humanitarian aid.
The latest crisis in the Serb-run north of Kosovo started on Monday night last week, when Kosovo special police took over two checkpoints in a move to enforce a recent order from Pristina, banning the import of goods from Serbia.
The special police soon encountered stiff resistance from local Serbs, culminating in the torching of one of the border crossings on Wednesday night. One Kosovo policeman was killed in a fire fight.
Border crossings of Jarinje and Brnjak were closed for three days after NATO declared them a restricted military zone and authorized the use of deadly force in case KFOR troops come under attack.