Blinken condemns the attacks on the Kosovo police
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said that the US strongly condemns the attacks on the Kosovo Police in the north of the country, calling on the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to reduce tensions.
"The perpetrators of this crime must be held accountable through a transparent investigative process," Blinken said in a statement.
"We call on the Governments of Kosovo and Serbia to refrain from any actions or rhetoric that could further fuel tensions, and immediately work, in coordination with international partners, to de-escalate the situation, provide security and the rule of law and return to the dialogue mediated by the European Union", he declared.
According to the American chief diplomat, the Kosovo Police "has full responsibility for the rule of law in the Republic of Kosovo".
"The US recognizes and respects the role of the Kosovo Police as the first responder to emergency and crisis situations," said Blinken.
The US Secretary of State said that Washington appreciates the close coordination with the Kosovo Police, the EU Rule of Law mission (EULEX) and NATO's KFOR, "especially to provide security for civilians at the scene". adding that the US will continue to monitor the situation.
In the early hours of Sunday, the Kosovo Police was attacked by a group of masked and armed persons, after the law enforcement authorities tried to remove the barricades placed in Banjska i Zveçani.
As a result of the clashes, the police official, Afrim Bunjaku, was killed and several others were injured.
The armed group then took refuge in the monastery of Banjska and during the day clashed with the Kosovo Police.
On Sunday, authorities said three attackers were killed, while on September 25 it was reported that the body of another suspected attacker had been found. Meanwhile, six people have been arrested.
The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, described the armed attackers as "an organized professional unit that has come to fight in Kosovo".
The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, said that the gunmen were local Serbs from Kosovo, "who could no longer suffer Kurt's terror".
Vucic condemned the killing of the Kosovo policeman, saying it "cannot be justified", but denied that Belgrade had anything to do with the attack.
A day after the clashes in the north, the situation in this area of Kosovo - inhabited by a majority of Serbs - is reported to be calm, but the access to the village of Banjské in the Municipality of Zveçan is still closed by the Kosovo Police./rel