Thursday, February 07, 2008

Politika: Violence may erupt in Kosovo, say U.S. intelligence officers

7 February 2008 | 13:01 | FOCUS News Agency

Pristina. When Kosovo declares independence interethnic violence may erupt, which would trigger the intervention of NATO forces, while the clashes may reach the neighboring states, say U.S. intelligence officers in an annual report introduced with the Committee on Intelligence at the Senate, the Serbian Politika writes.

“We think the Balkans will be unstable in 2008 because Kosovo’s striving for independence of Serbia will strengthen, and that’s why the interethnic relations in Bosnia will deteriorate,” said Director of National Intelligence John Michael McConnell, who presented the report in the Committee on Tuesday.

“The Kosovo leaders say that in the beginning of 2008 they will declare independence, which might trigger clashes with the Serbs in northern Kosovo who would not accept the independence. Belgrade might undertake some revenge measures, but any deterrent of the independence might lead to a response accompanied by violence on the part of the angry Albanian extremists,” reads the report.

“Whenever the Kosovo status issue is resolved the ethnic Albanian minority in Macedonia and southern Serbia might go on asking for larger autonomy, and the Albanian extremists would try to use the public discontent. By resorting to violence in smaller scale they would give a support for joining Kosovo. The Serbian officials say there will be no military intervention in Kosovo, but warned they will use political and economic measures, which would most probably harden the position of the Kosovo Serbs who would reject the independence and put hurdles to Kosovo’s economic development,” the report adds.

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