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Serbia to EU: Pressure Kosovo on Commando Raids

Serbia, looking for entry into the EU, resisted the temptation to respond to a show of force by Kosovo in the area held by the Serb minority
By Aryeh ben Hayim
First Publish: 7/27/2011, 7:37 PM / Last Update: 7/27/2011, 9:15 PM

Tensions escalated in Kosovo on Monday, when Kosovar Pristina government sent in commandos to seize two northern border crossings with Serbia. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, and bans exports from Kosovo. Kosovo had decided to retaliate by blocking Serbian goods from entering Kosovo.

The problem was that these border crossings are in the area dominated by the Serb minority population. Responding to international pressure, Kosovo announced that its commandos had withdrawn from the crossings..

Serbian President Boris Tadic, who has just obtained good will by extraditing suspected Serbian war criminals, vowed to refrain from force and put pressure on the EU to intervene.

However, he warned that he was bucking domestic opinion that wanted Serbia to react differently. "In Serbia there are political parties and individuals who believe that there is now a need to enter the conflict, to start new wars and new violence."

Tadic complained to the EU that the border crossing action by the Kosovar police was counterproductive to dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

Serbia under Tadic is seeking entry into the EU and therefore his coordination with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was predictable.