BELGRADE (Sputnik) – A crisis headquarters will be set up by Kosovo Serbs who erected barricades because of Pristina’s actions, said Goran Rakic, leader of the Serbian List party.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Sunday held a meeting of the National Security Council on Pristina’s threats to forcibly remove barricades erected by Serbs in northern Kosovo.
“We will form a crisis headquarters that will brief citizens and the media on the situation on the ground. I call on citizens, given the high degree of tension resulting from Pristina’s threats, to remain peaceful and restrained, but also vigilant “, Rakic told TV Pink on Sunday night.
Earlier in the day, Kosovo’s de facto leader Albin Kurti urged the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) to dismantle roadblocks erected by local Serbs in the north of the breakaway region. If KFOR refuses to intervene, Kosovo’s own security forces will be ready to carry out this operation themselves, Kurti said.
Serbian primary and secondary schools in northern Kosovo and Metohija are suspending work from Monday due to tensions in the region, according to Kosovo’s online news portal.
Serbs in northern Kosovo began erecting barricades on Saturday to protest the arrest of Dejan Pantic, a former policeman who left his post in mid-November and was arrested by Kosovo authorities at the Jarinje border crossing, suspected of “terrorism.”
On Saturday evening, Vucic said in his address to the nation that Belgrade would send an official request to the KFOR mission command for permission to deploy the Serbian army and police in Kosovo. He also showed photos of Kosovar soldiers in heavy equipment and with automatic weapons in the north of the region near the border with Serbia. Vucic recalled that, according to previously concluded agreements, special police forces can only be deployed in Serb-majority municipalities with the authorization of regional chiefs.