NATO Troops Close Kosovo Border
NATO has intervened to prevent rioting along the Kosovo-Serbia border from getting out of hand.
Nato troops have sealed the northern borders of Kosovo after Serbs angry at its weekend declaration of independence ransacked two crossings. Hundreds of protesters torched customs and police posts at Jarinje and Brnjak, manned by UN and Kosovo police.
Closing the borders will infuriate both Kosovo Serbs and Serbia’s government, says the BBC’s Nick Thorpe in Kosovo. The move cuts Kosovo’s mainly Serb north off from Serbia, the country to which they insist they still belong. Nato said it was shutting the crossings, initially for a 24-hour period.
The attacks on the crossings and the Nato response put the international community on a collision course with both Kosovo Serbs and the Serbian government, our correspondent says. He says that what is emerging on the ground is a second Kosovo.
Students in the Serb-dominated town of Mitrovica are organising daily protests at 12.44 pm, referring to UN Security Council resolution 1244 under which Serbia insists it still has sovereignty of Kosovo under international law.
That’s technically true until and unless the UN recognizes the breakaway republic. Practically, however, it’s a done deal, with the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom having already extended recognition with many others to follow.
NATO is the obvious intergovernmental organization to intervene here, given its regional legitimacy. If it is going to become the collective security force of first resort, it has to take care of problems in its own backyard.