Friday, November 2, 2007

Violence possible after Kosovo talks, intelligence
Thursday, November 01, 2007 12:32 PM

AP. BELGRADE, Serbia-Serbia's intelligence agency warned Thursday of possible unrest in Kosovo when talks end in December about the separatist province's future status.

Rade Bulatovic, the head of Serbia's Security Information Agency, told a parliamentary committee that "protests, unrest and even Serb-Albanian conflicts are possible" in the U.N.-run region.

Bulatovic said the instability was "particularly expected" if Kosovo declares independence from Serbia following a Dec. 10 deadline set by international mediators in the negotiations.

Kosovo is formally part of Serbia, but its majority ethnic Albanian population are seeking independence. Belgrade strongly opposes the idea.

Internationally-brokered negotiations on the province's status have produced no agreement so far. The U.S., Russian and EU mediators have set the Dec. 10 deadline for any deal to be reached.

Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo have threatened to unilaterally declare independence if the negotiations fail to produce a result. Serbia has said it would never recognize Kosovo's independence.

There was no immediate comment from the U.N. authorities in Kosovo to Bulatovic's statement. U.N. and NATO officials have pledged to maintain peace and stability.

A 1998-99 war between ethnic Albanian rebels and Serbian security forces in Kosovo left thousands dead and ended when NATO air attacks forced Belgrade to pull out of the province.

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