BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — The Latest on the tensions between Serbia and Kosovo (all times local):
The European Union’s top diplomat is urging Kosovo and Serbia to return to the negotiating table and normalize relations amid high tensions following an armed raid by Kosovo police in the Serb-dominated north of Kosovo.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Wednesday that the incident “shows us that the status quo is not sustainable and that both Pristina and Belgrade need to come back to the dialogue table.”
Mogherini added: “I see the risk of the dark forces of the past coming back, in terms of confrontation, even of conflict” if the two sides continue facing off.
Serbia put its troops on full alert Tuesday after armed Kosovo police fired tear gas and arrested about two dozen people in what they called an anti-organized crime operation in majority Serb areas in Kosovo.
Russia and Serbia have blamed pro-NATO and Western influences for an armed raid by Kosovo police in the Serb-dominated north of Kosovo that raised tensions in the region.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that Tuesday’s incident was instigated by “those who want to create a buffer zone from Russia on the Balkans” and who “want to push everyone to NATO.”
The armed operation angered Serbia, which immediately put the Serbian army on full alert in response. A Russian U.N. employee was among more than two dozen people arrested.
Serbian President Aleksadar Vucic says NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo “lied” when they said they had informed Belgrade in advance of the police action.
The raid was the latest flare-up in long-simmering tensions between Serbia and its former province.