Montag, 24. Mai 2010

KFOR Chef General Bentler kritisiert die Gewalt Anwendung bei der Demontage der Serbischen Mobil Funkt Antennen

Monday, May 24, 2010

Kosovo: Phones, Elections and Belgrade Credulous?

NATO reportedly has scolded Kosovo for its violent destruction of Serbian telecoms infrastructure in April. The NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) Commander, General Markus Bentler, criticized the Kosovo Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) for using force to remove equipment belonging to Serbian mobile operators. The General said he understood Serb frustration with having their phone service suddenly cut. Apparently referring to the subsequent attacks against Pristina-lisenced antennas in the north, he noted that “every action has a reaction.” Nevertheless, Kosovo authorities are threatening to do it again. They have given five Serb-majority municipalities – Gračanica, Štrpce, Leposavić, Prizren and Peć – 30 days to remove the antennas of Serbian mobile phone carriers or TRA will remove them itself. The authority reportedly said that it “will not tolerate companies and individuals who are directly or indirectly involved in offering telecommunications services without licenses in Kosovo.”

Unilateral Albanian actions to destroy the antennas in the five locations may not go unopposed. Leposavić is in the north and beyond the reach of the Kosovo authorities. Attacks in Gračanica and Štrpce would also be somewhat problematic. The Serbian government says attempting to remove the transmitters will not succeed and is “playing with fire.” State Secretary Oliver Ivanović also suggested that the Kosovo government is trying to distract attention from EULEX investigations into official corruption.

Speaking of Oliver Ivanović, according to the Pristina press of May 24, EU Special Envoy Giffoni has assured him that the EU – and he Giffoni – remains status neutral. This after EULUX declared the May 30 elections in Kosovo called by Serbia “illegal” and after Giffoni himself did the same a few days ago. Lajm said Ivanović made these comments after meeting with Giffoni in north Mitrovica on EU funding for projects. It is not known if the State Secretary believed what Giffoni told him.

UNMIK meanwhile made clear that because it remains status neutral, “it would not be appropriate for us to have any opinion … either way” on the elections.

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