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Merkel Calls For Joint Serb-Kosovo Border Controls


Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (right) with German Cancellor Angela Merkel during a press conference at Pristina International Airport

Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (right) with German Cancellor Angela Merkel during a press conference at Pristina International Airport

PRISTINA -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Kosovar and Serbian authorities to start joint border controls as agreed to quell the unrest in northern Kosovo, where ethnic Serbs are in a majority.

Merkel, who spoke after a meeting with Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci at the International Airport in Pristina on December 19, also repeated that Berlin wants Serbia's "parallel structures" in the north of Kosovo-- like municipalities, courts and schools -- eliminated.

"It is important that we see the implementation of the joint border control [on the Kosovo-Serbia border]," she said. "Naturally, we also need to make sure that there are no parallel [Serbian] structures [in northern Kosovo]."

Merkel also urged Belgrade to seek talks with Kosovo, saying "much also needs to be done in relations with Serbia."

She also met with German peacekeeping troops in the region during her snap trip to Kosovo.

Thirty German and Austrian soldiers were injured on November 28 when hundreds of Serbs resisted an attempt by NATO peacekeepers to remove roadblocks erected by Serbs in the north of Kosovo.

Kosovo Serbs have been blocking some roads in the north to stop the country's leadership from extending its control over the part of the country populated mostly by ethnic Serbs.

with agency reports

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