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NATO Hands Over Responsibility For Serb Shrines To Kosovo Police

General Markus Bentler
NATO's top commander in Kosovo, General Markus Bentler, said today the alliance is handing over responsibility for protecting nine Serb Orthodox Church monuments to the Kosovo police force, comprised mainly of ethnic Albanians.

NATO troops have been guarding the monuments -- churches and monasteries -- since the end of the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo because they were often targeted by Albanians.

Bentler said the decision to transfer responsibility for protecting the monuments was made after "intense discussions" with local leaders.

compiled from agency reports