Russia warns Kosovo against training Syria rebels

UNITED NATIONS- Russia on Monday warned Kosovo against allowing the training of Syrian opposition rebels on its territory, with its UN envoy saying it could cause international friction.
Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin condemned what he called "disturbing information" that Kosovo authorities had been "establishing contacts with the Syrian opposition to train insurgents" in Kosovo. Kosovo's foreign minister denied any training was planned.

Russia warns Kosovo against training Syria rebels
Diplomats and media reports said that at least three exiled Syrian activists have been in Kosovo recently for talks with the former Kosovo rebels who fought a separatist war against Serbia in 1998-99.
Churkin told a UN Security Council meeting on Kosovo that any training of Syria rebels would "run afoul" of the peace mission by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
"Moreover turning Kosovo into an international training center for insurgents of various armed units could become a serious destabilizing factor, one going beyond the Balkan region," he said.
Churkin called on the European Union and United Nations which have missions in Kosovo to act to prevent a presence by Syrian rebels.
Kosovo's Foreign Minister Enveer Hoxhaj told reporters that there had been "some diplomatic contacts" with the Syrian opposition.
"We are supporting very much their cause," Hoxhaj said. But when asked if there would be training, he replied: "Not at all."
The ethnic-Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army started fighting for independence from Serbia in 1997. President Slobodan Milosevic's strong-arm response led to a NATO bombing campaign in 1999 that ended the crackdown and brought Kosovo under UN administration until it declared its independence in 2008.
Russia strongly supports Serbia in insisting that Kosovo remains a Serbian province. Ninety countries have recognized its independence, including most of the European Union and the United States.

Tuesday, May 15th 2012

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