"KPS, not KSF will guard Serbian monuments"
Kosovo police, KPS, will be taking over the protection of Serb cultural and historic monuments in Kosovo, according to reports quoting the KFOR commander Markus Benlter. Serbia has suggested that KFOR should stop visiting northern Kosovo municipalities and calling on Serbs to join the KSF.
(KosovoCompromise Staff) Tuesday, February 16, 2010
It was reported earlier that this role would be taken over from KFOR by the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), but Markus Benlter denied that.
"The role of KSF is not to guard anything. Their role has nothing to do with protection of monuments of culture. They are a completely different kind of force, armed lightly, and the only role they have is humanitarian, such as extinguishing fires, mine clearing, removing dangerous materials, search and rescue," the commander of the NATO-led troops in the province told Radio Kontakt Plus.
Benlter also said that it was Kosovo police, KPS, who would be taking over this role from KFOR, "after consultations and intensive preparations".
"We will make sure that members of the Kosovo police who work in those locations, come from various ethnic groups, which means that Serb members of police will also be present."
The German general again addressed media reports that KSF would be put in charge of protecting the monuments by saying, "it was above all a grammatical error, not valid information."
Serbia has suggested that KFOR should stop visiting northern Kosovo municipalities and calling on Serbs to join the KSF.
Serbian Kosovo Ministry official Oliver Ivanovic said that the Serbian government is against Serbs joining the Kosovo Security Force (KSF).
"We suggested to them to stop doing that for many reasons, the first beingthe clear and general position of the Serbian government towards the KSF, as well as the stance of the local citizens, and the other is that anyone who is eventually interested in the KSF will go by themselves to the southern part of town, and then to Pristina to register," Ivanovic said.
The State Secretary in the Kosovo Ministry said that if KFOR continues trying to persuade Serbs to join the force, its behavior will be considered a provocation.
The KSF were founded according to the Ahtisaari plan, which Serbia does not recognize and which was not adopted by the UN Security Council. The formation is expected to have 2,500 regular members and 800 reservists.
Serbia protests against the formation of the KSF.