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NATO's Rasmussen Urges Kosovo, Serbia For Calm


NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (left) and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci at a joint press conference in Pristina on September 15

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (left) and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci at a joint press conference in Pristina on September 15

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the military alliance will not allow the Balkan region to slip back into violence amid simmering tensions between Kosovo and Serbia over a border dispute.

Rasmussen made the comments during a brief visit to Pristina, a day before Kosovo authorities are to deploy police and customs officials at two disputed border crossings with Serbia.

Speaking at a news conference after a meeting with Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, Rasmussen said the international contingent will maintain order in the region according to its mandate.

"It is the mandate of KFOR to maintain a safe and secure environment, which also implies that KFOR has to take action if this safe and secure environment is endangered," Rasmussen said.

The top NATO official said the recent violence was "bad for the image of Kosovo and a clear setback for the progress achieved."

One Kosovo Albanian police officer was killed in July in clashes sparked when Pristina tried to take control of two border crossings.

compiled from agency reports

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