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USA disappointed with police action in the north

USA disappointed with police action in the north

The US State Department (Dash) said that it is disappointed that the Kosovo Police took action in the financial offices in the north of Kosovo on May 20.

In a response to Radio Free Europe, DASH added that the action was not coordinated with international partners and escalates tensions.

"We call on the Government of Kosovo to return to constructive engagement in the dialogue mediated by the EU as the appropriate channel for resolving issues related to the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia and to address the basic needs of all its citizens - including those of the Serbian minority - adversely affected by the recent changes in currency regulation".

According to the State Department, this action undermines perceptions of Kosovo's good faith in resolving outstanding issues with Serbia through EU-facilitated dialogue.

The authorities in Kosovo have conducted a police operation against Serbian financial institutions in the north of Kosovo, which resulted in the closure of six facilities of the Post Savings Bank and the People's Bank of Serbia in four municipalities in the north of Kosovo, inhabited by a majority of Serbs.

During the operation, which the Kosovo authorities said was about establishing "order and legality", various evidence, including money, was confiscated.

The Kosovo police, who attached photos of the confiscated money, said that "about 1,600,000 euros, about 74,700,000 Serbian dinars, about 19,500 francs, about 13,800 US dollars, about 40 Australian dollars" were found.

The Kosovo police said that the action in the north of Kosovo was carried out after reports from financial monitoring institutions, such as the financial intelligence unit and the Central Bank of Kosovo. The Tax Administration of Kosovo also participated in the action.

High officials in Serbia strongly condemned the police action in the north, calling it "illegal". From Belgrade there was a call to the international community to stop the actions from Kosovo, which according to them, are "threatening the survival" of the Serbs in Kosovo.

DASH emphasized that the American Government has repeatedly called for coordination between "our two governments" to support Kosovo's progress on its Euro-Atlantic path.

This was also done through the American Undersecretary of State for Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Liz Allen, who met with the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, on May 19 in Pristina, DASH told REL.

The action of the Kosovo authorities comes a week after the Central Bank of Kosovo announced that the transitional period for its regulation, which prohibits the use of the Serbian dinar for making payments, has ended.

The CBK regulation, which entered into force on February 1, foresees the euro as the only currency for making payments.

DASH said that the United States emphasizes its clear concern about the implementation of the CBK regulation.

Kosovo and Serbia have met seven times in the last few months in Brussels, within the dialogue mediated by the EU, to find a solution for the sending of financial aid from Serbia to the Serbs of Kosovo, but they have not found an agreement so far./ REL

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