World Bulletin / News Desk
Kosovo's president said on Tuesday that Serbia has agreed to disband a security operation in the north that Belgrade denies exists.
Serbia said no such deal had been done and has denied Western accusations for years that it maintains clandestine security forces in a northern, Serb pocket of neighbouring Kosovo, the majority-Albanian territory that broke away in a 1998-99 war and declared independence in 2008.
Western diplomats say the Serb police and intelligence officers' presence is an open secret, and the EU wants them off the Serbian payroll before it moves ahead with the Balkan country's bid to join the bloc.
Kosovo's president, Atifete Jahjaga, said she had been informed by Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci that Serbia had agreed "in principle" at EU-mediated talks this month to dismantle the security operation.
"The prime minister said it was agreed that Serbia's intelligence and police structures in Kosovo will be disbanded," she said in a statement, also stating that the deal would be finalised at the next round of EU-mediated talks expected next week in Brussels.
Serbia, which does not recognise Kosovo as independent, said no agreement had been reached during the talks and again denied having any Serb security forces in northern Kosovo.
"As far as alleged intelligence and police structures are concerned, someone would have to name them," Aleksandar Vulin, the Serbian government's spokesman on Kosovo, told Reuters. Whoever suggests Serbia has such forces in Kosovo "has a problem with reality", he said.Last Mod: 27 Şubat 2013, 10:58