"EULEX, KFOR, UNMIK should stay as long as possible"Source: Beta, Tanjug
BELGRADE -- EULEX, KFOR and UNMIK should stay in Kosovo "as long as possible so as to ensure peace and security for all citizens, primarily Serbs," says Ivica Ivica Dačić.
"We are of the opinion that EULEX and all other international missions should stay in Kosovo and Metohija as long as possible, as they are guarantors of the implementation of various peace agreements," Dačić said.
The international missions should remain in Kosovo and Metohija, as it is in Serbia's interest that peace and stability be maintained, all citizens protected, and ethnically motivated incidents and attacks on Serbs prevented, he said.
"We are against a reduction in the functions and competences of UNMIK, EULEX and KFOR, which Priština is proposing, because Serbs do not place enough trust in Priština's authorities," Dačić said.
Although Serbia had reservations about the arrival of EULEX, it is important at this moment that the mission stays, that it does not reduce its scope and competences, he said.
"KFOR guarantees that some future army of Kosovo will not go into the territory populated by Serbs in northern Kosovo and Metohija, and UNMIK is the status-neutral UN mission that is very significant, and I think that is of vital importance for the stabilization of circumstances in Kosovo and Metohija," Dačić said.
"EULEX will react"EULEX chief Bernd Borchardt said on Thursday that he was convinced that the repeated local elections in northern Kosovska Mitrovica on Nov. 17 would be incident-free, and added that EULEX was ready to respond if incidents did occur.
Borchard told Beta that, for the Nov. 3 elections, when masked attackers destroyed ballot boxes at three stations in northern Kosovska Mitrovica, EULEX had been asked not to be directly present at the ballot stations.
"After this experience, the OSCE has now invited the members of EULEX to be present also at the ballot stations, and we will secure a significant number of police officers for this," said the EULEX chief.
He also stated that KFOR and the Kosovo police, which are in charge of responding first in case of incidents, will also take care of the security of the elections and the voters.