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Drews: KFOR does not accept months of blockage

08. October 2011. | 08:40

Source: Tanjug

KFOR Commander Erhard Drews has stated Friday that there is no deadline for the removal of barricades in the north of Kosovo, adding that it depends on the citizens of the northern part of Kosovo and their behaviour.

KFOR Commander Erhard Drews has stated Friday that there is no deadline for the removal of barricades in the north of Kosovo, adding that it depends on the citizens of the northern part of Kosovo and their behaviour.

A small number of people want conflicts in the north of Kosovo, but in that case KFOR should react regardless of whether the barricades exist or not. There are certain red lines which cannot be crossed. If that happens, KFOR will have to interfere and establish peace, Drews said at a press conference in Pristina, the first since he assumed the position of KFOR commander a month ago.

He said that KFOR can remove all the barricades in the north at any moment, noting that a major KFOR unit is doing a military exercise and training for removal of the barricades with all available capacities. To be clear: this situation with 16 barricades, which pushes KFOR troops into small pockets around the crossings, is not the situation we can bear for months, the German general warned.

He stressed that KFOR retains the right to remove the barricades when it deems it necessary, in case they jeopardize peace and safety, and there is an urgent need for the freedom of movement of either KFOR or other international institutions. But there is no deadline, so there are no guarantees that we will stand still, but also no guarantees that we will start with that tomorrow, Drews said.

He reiterated that on September 27, KFOR acted in self-defence at the Jarinje administrative crossing, and that incident is not a reason enough for it to start removing the barricades. Drews said that NATO is not provoking World War III at the Serbian borders, and stressed that criminal groups from the north of Kosovo caused this incident.

The people in the north are blocking themselves, and denying themselves the freedom of movement. More than they block KFOR, the commander of the NATO forces in the province said.

The barricades do not represent a peaceful protest. They are unlawful, but I would like them removed as a result of the political agreement and solution, and not by force. If KFOR would do that, we would face the danger of injuring someone, of hurting innocent people. There is always the risk that the action aimed at removing barricades might jeopardize a peaceful and safe environment, the KFOR commander said.

Drews is of the opinion that citizens should remove barricades, but if they fail to do that, KFOR retains the right to remove them at the moment which it deems appropriate so as to fulfill its duty and back other international presence.


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