Stop NATO News: December 14, 2011

14 December 2011 — Stop NATO

  • U.S. Interceptor Missile System Aimed Against Russia, China: Security Official
  • U.S., NATO Forces Surround Syria On Eve Of Invasion?
  • German General: 15,000 NATO Troops In Afghanistan Past 2014
  • U.S. Loses Drones In Middle East, Off East Africa Coast
  • NATO State Diplomats In Firing Exercise At Georgian Military Center
  • U.S., Japan Develop Next-Generation Interceptor Missile
  • Pakistan: Frontier Corps Ready To Repulse NATO Aggression
  • Pakistan: Death From The Skies, NATO In Search Of An Enemy
  • Partners Across the Globe & Iraq: NATO To ‘Stabilize Unpredictable World’
  • Serbian Deputy Prime Minister: NATO Planning Military Conquest Of Northern Kosovo
  • Kosovo: West Blocks Russian Humanitarian Aid Convoy
  • West, Kosovo Try To Use Russian Convoy To Break Blockade
  • Tensions Rise Between West, Russia In Kosovo
  • Russian Ambassador Decries Political Blackmail In Kosovo
  • Kosovo Is Main Drug Transit Center In Europe: Russian Anti-Drug Chief

U.S. Interceptor Missile System Aimed Against Russia, China: Security Official

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/13/62168947.html

Interfax
December 13, 2011

‘No doubt US missile shield targets Russia’ – Patrushev

‘Moscow is in no doubt that the US anti-missile defense shield is aimed against Russia and China,’ Secretary of the Russian National Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with the Argumenty I Fakty newspaper.

‘Moreover, their further plans involve sending aircraft carriers and ABMs close to the Russian borders. Despite the solid arguments put forward by Moscow, our US partners refuse to give us legally binding guarantees on their missile plans,’ Patrushev said, adding, however, that the two countries still have time to negotiate the issue.

====

U.S., NATO Forces Surround Syria On Eve Of Invasion?

http://rt.com/usa/news/us-nato-syria-edmonds-709/

RT
December 13, 2011

US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

A former official from within the ranks of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is reporting that US and NATO forces have landed outside of Syria and are training militants to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, formerly a translator with the FBI, wrote over the weekend that American soldiers are among the NATO troops that have mysteriously and suddenly, landed on the Jordanian-Syrian border.

According to her, several sources internationally have confirmed the news, although the US media has been instructed to temporarily censor itself from reporting the news.

Additionally, Edmonds says that American and NATO forces are training Turkish troops as well, to possibly launch a strike from the north of Syria.

Edmonds writes that an Iraqi journalist based out of London has confirmed that US forces that vacated the Ain al-Assad Air Base in Iraq last week did in fact leave the country as part of President Obama’s drawdown of troops, but rather than return home, the soldiers were transferred into Jordan during the late hours of Thursday evening. Another source, writes Edmonds, informs her that ‘soldiers who speak languages other than Arabic’ have been moving through Jordan mere miles from the country’s border with Syria. Troops believed to be NATO/American-affiliated have been spotted between the King Hussein Air Base in al-Mafraq and the Jordanian village of Albaej and its vicinity.

Nizar Nayouf, a correspondent for Edmond’s Boiling Frog Post whistleblower site, says an employee of the London-based offices of Royal Jordanian Airlines has further confirmed that at least one US aircraft transporting military personnel has brought American troops into Jordan in recent days. Nayouf, the former editor-in-chief of Sawt al-Democratiyya (Democracy’s Vote), had previously been sentenced to a decade behind bars for critiquing the Syrian government. He later won several human rights awards and the 2000 UNISCO prize for press freedom.

Since the uprising of rebel forces opposing al-Assad’s regime over Syria nearly a year ago, American officials have been critical of the country’s government but insist that they have otherwise distanced themselves from becoming involved in the protests. Following the deaths of dozens of protesters in the spring of 2011, the United States imposed strict sanctions against the official government of Syria.

Navi Pillay, the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights, revealed this week that the uprising in Syria has caused over 5,000 deaths since it began in early 2011. In the case of the crackdown against former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, NATO involvement began only one month into the uprising. Nine months later, the total death toll of the Libyan Civil War is estimated to be close to 30,000.

In her report, Edmonds says that NATO troops have been training soldiers just outside of Syria since as early as May, and that US media is prohibited from reporting on it until today. The Turkish paper Milliyet also reports that defected Syrian colonel Riad al-Assad is preparing troops to take over the Syrian government as well.

====

German General: 15,000 NATO Troops In Afghanistan Past 2014

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/southasia/news/article_1680590.php/NATO-to-leave-15-000-troops-in-Afghanistan-after-withdrawal?fb_xd_fragment#?=&cb=f864117c371a96&relation=parent&transport=fragment&frame=f8ee7fd45de89e&error=unknown_user

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
December 13, 2011

NATO to leave 15000 troops in Afghanistan after withdrawal

Mons, Belgium: NATO intends to leave around 15,000 troops in Afghanistan after all combat troops have been withdrawn by the end of 2014, NATO’s chief of staff in Europe said Tuesday.

German General Manfred Lange said he was ‘extraordinarily confident’ that the withdrawal would take place as planned.

The military alliance was currently debating how many troops should be left behind, he told journalists at NATO’s military headquarters in the Belgian city of Mons.

‘I would say around 15,000, plus or minus, I can imagine,’ said Lange. The number depended on whether the Afghan army and police force was to continue being supported by the West, he said.

However it was important to leave some troops behind to provide training and technical support, as well as possible medical aid, he said. Soldiers were also needed to protect ‘what we’re leaving behind,’ he said.

====

U.S. Loses Drones In Middle East, Off East Africa Coast

http://rt.com/usa/news/seychelles-drone-us-iran-711/

RT
December 13, 2011

Cyber war on US drones? Another spy craft goes down, now in Seyshelles

-Editor Gervais Henrie of the local Le Seychellois Hebdo told the Washington Post that the craft burst into flames upon crashing, describing the wreckage in a phone interview as charred and ‘totally destroyed.’
The MQ-9 Reaper has the capability of launching laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles…

With America still scrambling to explain why and how they lost a drone aircraft over Iran last week, the Pentagon is trying to make sense of how another high-tech unmanned spy craft crashed Tuesday morning in Seychelles.

For the second time in two weeks, American authorities lost contact with a drone aircraft, this time resulting in a fiery crash on the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles. The United States has operated an Air Force base there since 2009 to dispatch drone aircraft for use in anti-piracy missions and to patrol the skies over Somalia and elsewhere.

Officials at the US Embassy in Mauritius confirmed the crash on Tuesday morning, revealing that a MQ-9, or ‘Reaper’ drone, landed at Seychelles International Airport, citing mechanical issues.

A week earlier, the Department of Defense denied losing a drone, only for Iranian authorities to in turn publish video proof of an American craft that they have recovered. The Pentagon later admitted that they lost contact with the drone while allegedly flying it over Afghanistan, prompting President Obama to ask Tehran to return the spy plane. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has shot down Obama’s plea, however, telling Venezuelan state television this week, ‘The Americans have perhaps decided to give us this spy plane. We now have control of this plane.’ Ahmadinejad added that Iranian authorities are able to make sense of the craft’s complex technical system, perhaps providing a crucial addition to Iran’s arsenal as tensions between Tehran and Washington intensify over a budding nuclear program.

The Department of Defense has remained relatively mum on the exact capabilities of the lost craft, although insiders insist that the drone in question can sniff out chemicals in the sky and intercept cell phone transmissions miles in the sky while remaining undetected.

The loss of the second drone within days raises questions about security within the US military and the unmanned craft themselves. It was reported earlier this year that drones dispatched from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada were plagued with a computer virus that made its way into the cockpits of the craft without American authorities able to quickly identify it. Even though US military officials claimed that the virus didn’t harm the security of US aircraft, it is suspicious that now two American drones have been downed in only such a short amount of time, raising questions whether it is possible retaliation from Iran for an alleged cyber attack the year prior. Stuxnet, a 2010 computer worm that targeted Iranian nuclear facilities, was suspected to be perpetrated by American intelligence agencies…

Editor Gervais Henrie of the local Le Seychellois Hebdo told the Washington Post that the craft burst into flames upon crashing, describing the wreckage in a phone interview as charred and ‘totally destroyed.’

The MQ-9 Reaper has the capability of launching laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles…

====

NATO State Diplomats In Firing Exercise At Georgian Military Center

http://www.mod.gov.ge/index.php?page=77&lang=1&type=&Id=1221

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 12, 2011

Foreign Diplomats visiting Krtsanisi Training Center

Today, diplomatic Corps representatives have visited the Krtsanisi National Training Center. First Deputy Defence Minister Nodar Kharshiladze hosted the diplomats.

In the firing range the gusts competed with one another in shooting, using different firearms. Georgian instructors familiarized the diplomats with the technical specifications of the presented weapons and relevant security measures.

The diplomats carried out shootings from different firearms: the Negev firing-machine, automatic rifles of the M-4 type and pistols of the ‘Glok-17’ type. At the end, the Deputy Minister handed symbolic presents to the winners.

====

U.S., Japan Develop Next-Generation Interceptor Missile

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2011/12/13/Raytheon-continues-Standard-Missile-3-work/UPI-59311323783107/

United Press International
December 13, 2011

Raytheon continues Standard Missile-3 work

TUCSON: Raytheon said it will continue engineering work on the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA, part of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System.

The SM-3 Block IIA, a joint development effort by the United States and Japan, has larger rocket motors than previous versions and an advanced kinetic warhead.

Under a contract modification, worth $241 million, Raytheon will continue engineering design and development work for the system.

‘The co-development of the SM-3 Block IIA with our Japanese allies continues to be an industry-leading example of global partnership,’ said Wes Kremer, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems’ Air and Missile Defense Systems product line. ‘The SM-3 Block IIA is on track for a 2018 deployment.’

The SM-3 is for the Missile Defense Agency’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles in the midcourse phase of flight.

More than 130 SM-3s have been delivered to U.S. and Japanese navies, which are deploying them on Aegis cruisers and destroyers.

====

Pakistan: Frontier Corps Ready To Repulse NATO Aggression

http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/14-Dec-2011/FC-ready-to-crush-aggression-IG

The Nation
December 14, 2011

FC ready to crush aggression: IG
By Bari Baloch

QUETTA: Frontier Corps Inspector General Maj Gen Obaidullah Khan has said extraordinary measures have been taken to repulse any aggression at the borders along Afghanistan.

‘After the Nato attack on the Pakistani post in Mohmand, the FC has reviewed security at border areas and its troops are ready to respond to any aggression,’ he told journalists at the FC headquarters.

He said 262 Nato vehicles were stranded in different parts of Balochistan after supplies to allied forces were halted.

Following the attack on Nato vehicles in Quetta, it has been decided to send Nato vehicles back to Karachi, he said, adding that the attacks on Nato vehicles were tarnishing the image of the country.

====

Pakistan: Death From The Skies, NATO In Search Of An Enemy

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=82192&Cat=9

News International
December 14, 2011

Death from the sky
Roedad Khan*

-It is a matter of deep concern that Nato has extended its military operations to Pakistan. Nato is a military alliance in search of an enemy.
-Once we thought this one-of-a-kind American president could do great things. In his inaugural address he focused more on ‘soft power’ and told the Muslim world that he wants ‘a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect’. All that seems to have changed. His message for Pakistan now is loud and clear: do as I tell you, or else. This is not the way the Americans treated us or talked to us when they were wooing us. This is what happens when you have been in the harem too long.

Saturday, November 26 will go down in our history as a black day. On that day, America’s ‘war on terror’ reached Pakistan’s Salala Post, in Mohmand Agency, manned by jawans of the Pakistan army. While our soldiers were sleeping, US and Nato gunships targeted the post without any provocation. Innocent blood was spilled in pursuit of Obama’s ambitions and nightmares. Missiles rained down killing 24 soldiers, including two officers, and injuring many others.

The deadly Nato operation led by an American general lasted for three hours. Dead bodies lay all around the post. It was not a mistake, it was targeted. No apology from President Obama, the Secretary of State or the Pentagon. Not surprisingly, anger in Pakistan reached a fever pitch. People all over Pakistan boiled over in righteous indignation.

When the US strikes, an apology for a wrong committed is unnecessary because, of course, the United States is never at fault. America has never apologised to the Iraqi people for years of carnage carried out in the name of WMDs, weapons that were never found because they were never there. Obama dodges the need to apologise on the premise ‘that we are up against people who show no shame, no remorse, no hint of humanity’. ‘The unfortunate’, Mirabeau once said, ‘are always wrong’, even when they are the victims. Our moment of truth arrived on November 26. We are at the crossroads.

On the eve of Mr Jinnah’s departure, from New Delhi for Karachi, Henry F. Grady, the American ambassador to India, paid him a farewell call.

Expressing great admiration for the United States, Mr Jinnah reiterated his hope that America would assist Pakistan ‘in its many problems’. When Grady asked whether he desired to indicate any specific matter, Jinnah replied laconically, ‘not at this time’. It did not take him long to realise that Pakistan faced a much stronger and wily adversary, determined to strangle it in the crib; and that Pakistan stood alone in the ring. Faced with the prospects of such a desperate situation, the Quaid-e-Azam turned to the United States for assistance. This was the beginning of our romance with the United States. What went wrong?

The alienation between the people of Pakistan and the United States has never been more intense. Relations between Pakistan and the US have never been as stormy as they are today. Relations have been steadily deteriorating ever since a Navy Seal team killed Osama bin Laden near Abbottabad in May. Matters became still worse in September, when Admiral [Michael] Mullen, [then-] Chairman Joint Chief of Staff, accused Pakistan of supporting an attack on the American embassy in Kabul. On Saturday, November 26, the relationship hit a new low when a Nato air strike killed two dozen soldiers in Salala.

On July 12, 1961, when President Ayub visited Washington, he told a Joint Session of the Congress of the US: ‘The only people who will stand by you are the people of Pakistan provided you are also prepared to stand by them. So, I would like you to remember that whatever may be the dictates of your commitments, you will not take any steps that might aggravate our problems or in any fashion jeopardise our security. As long as you remember that our friendship will grow in strength’.

In his welcome address, President Kennedy said that Pakistan was ‘a friend of immediacy and constancy’, and observed that ‘Americans in private and in their public life appreciate the value of friendship and the constancy of friends’. Fine words and noble sentiments but they ring so hollow today. In the real world, as every student of international relations knows, there are no permanent friends, only permanent national interests.

The Washington Times’ portrayal of Pakistan as America’s ‘retriever dog’ deeply offended the people of Pakistan and sparked a wave of protest all over the country. The cartoon clearly shows what the Americans think of Pakistan and its people. They do not appreciate the value of friendship and the constancy of friendship. They use Pakistan whenever the need arises, throwing it away when no longer needed.

Who says we are friends? We have never been friends. There can be no friendship between the strong and the weak. There can be no friendship between unequals, neither in private life nor in public life. ‘The strong do what they can’, the Athenians told the intractable Melians, ‘and the weak must suffer what they must’.

The farewell address of George Washington will ever remain an important legacy for small nations like Pakistan. The father of the American Republic cautioned that ‘an attachment of a small or weak toward a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter’. ‘It is folly in one nation’, George Washington observed, ‘to look for disinterested favours from another…it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character’. No truer words have been spoken on the subject.

Today say ‘Pakistan’ and what comes to mind: sham democracy, fraudulent referendum, rigged elections, a corrupt president, a rubber stamp parliament, a figurehead prime minister. Democracy in the West means a political system marked not only by free, fair and impartial elections, but also by rule of law, and an independent election commission. All these institutions are non-existent in Pakistan. So how can Pakistan resist American pressure and be secure in its independence when it is not free in its spirit; when it is not free in its institutions?

It is a matter of deep concern that Nato has extended its military operations to Pakistan. Nato is a military alliance in search of an enemy. It had been created, in Lord Ismay’s famous words, ‘to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down’. Confronted by a Western Europe still in ruins and a Soviet Union triumphantly consolidating its conquests, Europeans joined hands, in 1949, with Americans and Canadians to create a military alliance to stem the further encroachment of the Soviet tide. Soviet Union died long ago. What is Nato doing so close to our border? That is the question.

Once we thought this one-of-a-kind American president could do great things. In his inaugural address he focused more on ‘soft power’ and told the Muslim world that he wants ‘a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect’. All that seems to have changed. His message for Pakistan now is loud and clear: do as I tell you, or else. This is not the way the Americans treated us or talked to us when they were wooing us. This is what happens when you have been in the harem too long.

‘The single greatest threat to (Pakistan)’, Obama said recently, ‘comes from Al-Qaeda and their extremist allies’. This is not true. All our major problems stem from American occupation of Afghanistan and its frequent intrusions into our tribal territory. It has turned our tribal area into a protracted ulcer, a quagmire – a place where Pakistan is spending blood and treasure to protect American interests.

Once we could do no wrong in the American eyes. Now we are in the dock, alone in the ring, facing all kinds of charges. We have achieved the impossible. We have the dubious distinction of alienating both the superpowers. And to add insult to injury, America has found a new dance partner in India. Today Pakistan is out in the cold, marooned, rejected, discarded. One thing is clear: the belief that Pakistan has no alternative but to slavishly obey its master’s voice could turn out to be one of seminal strategic miscalculations of the 21st century.

*The writer is a former federal secretary.

====

Partners Across the Globe & Iraq: NATO To ‘Stabilize Unpredictable World’

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-3CA47904-488967C4/natolive/news_82203.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 13, 2011

NATO – An Essential Source of Stability in an Unpredictable World

Brussels, 12-13 December: Participants of the NATO Defense College (NDC) Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors Course 2011, visited NATO Headquarters for two days of discussions. Representing 23 NATO Allies and Partner nations, their discussion sessions addressed enhancing mutual understanding of security concerns, and NATO’s interests and capabilities, from both political and military perspectives.

The yearly NDC Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors Course brings together high-ranking civilians and military from NATO and NATO partner countries (Partnership for Peace (PfP), Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), Partners Across the Globe & Iraq). The main theme of this year’s course is ‘NATO – An Essential Source of Stability in an Unpredictable World’.

Welcoming the participants, Lt.Gen Bornemann, Director General of the International Military Staff, emphasized the impact of the immense economic and budget challenges on NATO’s operations. NATO-led operations and missions require the timely development, delivery, and deployment of modern and often costly capabilities.

‘Since an increase in defence budgets in the near or medium term is unrealistic for all of us, we need to focus on the real priorities, cooperate and coordinate better; and when we combine our efforts, and when we share our capabilities, then we can really learn to do more with less. Smart Defence is an answer to this point of issue!’

====

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister: NATO Planning Military Conquest Of Northern Kosovo

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/crimes-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=12&dd=13&nav_id=77774

Tanjug News Agency
December 13, 2011

‘Plans being made to conquer north militarily’

-’Does anyone really think we don’t know what they’re up to there? Does a part of the international community really think we don’t know about the plans being made to militarily conquer northern Kosovo?’ the minister asked…

BELGRADE: Interior Minister and Deputy PM Ivica Da?i? says a local Serb businessman who was described as a criminal by KFOR ‘is not Kosovo’s biggest problem’.

The EU mission in Kosovo, EULEX, sent no proof of Zvonko Veselinovi?’s involvement in the unrest in the north, Da?i? told reporters on Tuesday, speaking at the Belgrade Aeroklub venue.

‘Do you really think that the problem in Kosovo is Zvonko Veselinovi?? I cannot believe that you’re considering the problem in such simplified terms. Being suspected of causing incidents is one thing, while what Serbs in Kosovo are demanding is another,’ he responded to questions from journalists.

Da?i? also revealed that the Interior Ministry (MUP) had ‘certain information’ about other activities of persons named by KFOR commander Erhard Drews as organizers of violence, but that no investigation was launched.

Asked whether ‘the Serbian police would arrest Veselinovi? if it had an opportunity’, Da?i? responded by saying this was ‘a hypothetical question’, and added that ‘even if this were to happen, any extradition to Priština would be out of the question’, since Serbia considers Kosovo a part of its territory.

The minister further stressed that Serbs had the right to put forward their political demands just as ethnic Albanians had done, and that he had been listening for two years ‘to the international community’ saying that the center of crime was in northern Kosovo, but that this was ‘not true’.

‘That’s a lie! The hotbed of crime is in Priština and in Albania. The Albanian mafia is the strongest in the world. Those are not my words, those are the words of Russian, German, and American services. Yet, here we are, discussing Zvonko Veselinovi?. I cannot believe we’ve reached this level,’ Da?i? said.

He also sent a message to NATO’s troops in the province, KFOR, that they ‘would do better to find a way to cooperate with Serbs in the north, and prevent unilateral actions in Kosovo’.

‘Does anyone really think we don’t know what they’re up to there? Does a part of the international community really think we don’t know about the plans being made to militarily conquer northern Kosovo?’ the minister asked, but would not provide any more details related to this assertion.

Northern Kosovo is inhabited by a Serb majority that does not recognize the Kosovo Albanian unilateral declaration of independence made in early 2008, or the authority of the Priština-based institutions.

In a bid to prevent Priština’s customs and police from taking over administrative line checkpoints between northern Kosovo and central Serbia, local Serbs last summer put up barricades, blocking several roads in that part of Kosovo.

====

Kosovo: West Blocks Russian Humanitarian Aid Convoy

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/13/62152808.html

Itar-Tass
December 13, 2011

Russian humanitarian convoy banned from entering Kosovo

The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, or EULEX Kosovo, prevented a convoy of Russian humanitarian supplies from entering northern Kosovo via the Jarinje checkpoint on the Serbian border.

The convoy consists of 25 trucks, carrying food, blankets, cutlery, and portable electric generators.

After the first two trucks went through the necessary customs formalities, the procedure was interrupted, without any explanation provided so far.

—————————————————————————

http://rt.com/news/russia-aid-serbia-kosovo-733/

RT
December 13, 2011

Russian humanitarian convoy blocked at Kosovo border

Video

A Russian truck convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Kosovo’s Serbian population is now heading back to Russia after daylong negotiations between Russia and EULEX proved fruitless. ­

The Russian convoy consisting of 25 trucks with humanitarian aid including power-plants, blankets, food supplies, furniture and other necessities had been heading for Mitrovica, the largest city in Kosovo’s Serb-dominated north. Two trucks were able to enter Kosovo through the Jarinje border checkpoint but the rest were not allowed through by the EULEX police in charge of the post.

EULEX said it wanted to escort the convoy on its way to Mitrovica, but Russia said the region was safe and there was no reason for EULEX to accompany its trucks. Kosovo Serbs did not want to let EULEX police through as they saw it as an opportunity for Kosovo customs officials to sneak into their region. EULEX also said Russia could use another checkpoint at Merdare. However, Russia refused this offer because the checkpoint is under Kosovo control, a country Russia does not recognize.

The Russian ambassador to Serbia, as well as Russian Emergency Ministry officials and diplomats arrived at the scene to negotiate with EULEX. The talks took place in a roadside café and in a nearby meadow. However, at the end the day, they were to no avail and the remaining 23 trucks are now heading back to Russia according to the latest reports for RT’s Igor Ogorodnev.

In November 20,000 Kosovo Serbs signed a petition asking for Russian citizenship. The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected their demand but said Russia would help the Serbian population of Northern Kosovo with humanitarian aid.

Northern Kosovo has seen a surge in violence this year after the government of Kosovo tried to enforce its trade embargo with Serbia. Some Kosovo Serbs launched an attack on customs checkpoints set up by the Kosovo administration, resulting in NATO and EULEX becoming involved. Since the summer the local Serbian population has set up barricades to prevent international peacekeepers from using the main roads in the region.

====

West, Kosovo Try To Use Russian Convoy To Break Blockade

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/296539.html

Itar-Tass
December 13, 2011

Kosovo Albanian authorities try to use Russian convoy for seizing control over checkpoint

JARINJE: A Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid to Kosovo Serbs has been staying at the entry to Kosovo since 2:00 p.m. Moscow time on Tuesday.

EULEX officers refuse to let the trucks cross the Jarinje checkpoint on the administrative border of central Serbia and Kosovo. The first two trucks were cleared by the customs and the procedure stopped by the order of the mission administration without any explanations.

EULEX insists that the convoy must be accompanied for security reasons, Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin said. In his words, the Russian side has repeatedly declined the accompanying of the convoy as there are no threats to the convoy in northern areas of Kosovo.

Meanwhile, Kosovo Serbs refuse to let EULEX vehicles into the areas they control. A source in Kosovska Mitrovica told Itar-Tass that eleven EULEX vehicles are staying at the entry to the city. Kosovo Albanian border guards, customs officers and journalists are members of the so-called accompanying group. ‘It seems the Albanian side has decided to use the occasion for taking control over the Jarinje checkpoint, whose approaches are blocked by Kosovo Serbs,’ the source said.

The Russian ambassador called the Serbian foreign minister to discuss the problem. The Russian Foreign and Emergency Situations Ministries were informed about the situation.

Russian diplomats, representatives of the Emergency Situations Ministry and the media insist on the free movement of the Russian convoy to the territory of Kosovo.

The convoy crossed the Romanian border on Saturday and headed for Kosovo for transferring the humanitarian cargo to the Serbian organization of the Red Cross in Kosovska Mitrovica.

Twenty-five trucks departed from Noginsk on December 7 to bring power plants, blankets, food, dishes and folding furniture to Serbia. The total weight of the humanitarian cargo is 284 tonnes. The convoy was supposed to cross the territory of Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Serbia.

Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday that the ministry was sending another humanitarian convoy to Kosovo Serbs.

‘A convoy carrying humanitarian cargo will depart from the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s 179th rescue center in Noginsk, Moscow region, to Serbia at 5:30 a.m. Moscow time on December 10,’ he said.

The trucks will deliver diesel power plants, furnaces, folding furniture, household heaters, blankets, bed linen and food with the total weight of 160 tonnes, the minister said.

====

Tensions Rise Between West, Russia In Kosovo

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=12&dd=13&nav_id=77768

Beta News Agency/Tanjug News Agency
December 13, 2011

Ambassador: EULEX blocking humanitarian aid

-Russian Ambassador in Belgrade Aleksandr Konuzin traveled in the convoy. At the barricade, he exited his car to shake hands with the Serbs guarding the roadblock and took pictures with them.
But when a convoy of 11 vehicles belonging to the EU mission in the province, EULEX, headed for Jarinje from the southern, ethnic Albanian, part of Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbs turned them back twice from two locations.
-Kosovska Mitrovica Mayor Krstimir Panti? told reporters that the Serbs blocked EULEX because the mission was ‘transporting Kosovo border police and customs’ to Jarinje, as well as Albanian-language media crews from Priština, whose goal was to report that ‘the road toward Jarinje is passable, and that a Russian humanitarian envoy was the first to cross a customs post that Serbs are boycotting’.
Panti? described this as ‘yet another unnecessary provocation’ on the part of EULEX…

JARINJE: Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Konuzin says that the EU mission in Kosovo, EULEX, is blocking a convoy of humanitarian aid.

The 27 trucks carrying the aid to Serbs in the north, sent by Russia, are blocked at the Jarinje administrative checkpoint since Tuesday morning.

The convoy of trucks sent by the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations and meant to be delivered to Serbs in Kosovo arrived at the gates at Jarinje this morning, the ambassador told reporters at the spot, adding that the convoy had been told it would be allowed to cross the administrative line between central Serbia and the Kosovo province.

He said that the formalities concerning the procedures for trucks to enter the southern Serbian province had to be observed and were underway.

Two trucks have already been allowed to enter and are already in the province, and a third truck was currently undergoing the same procedure, said Konuzin.

‘EULEX then issued an order to halt the formal procedure, blocking the convoy movement,’ he said. ‘We received no information as to the reason for stopping the control procedure. Then we were given the ultimatum to either continue to move on accompanied by EULEX or to go to the Merdare checkpoint,’ he said.

Konuzin said EULEX had then been said it was not required to escort the convoy and that the convoy would not go on to Merdare because the crossing was controlled by authorities from Priština that neither Russia nor the Serbian authorities considered legitimate.

For now, the movement of the convoy remains blocked, Konuzin said, adding that he was in contact with Serbian and Russian authorities trying to find a solution.

‘The most important thing is for the Russian humanitarian aid to reach those for whom it is meant – Kosovo Serbs,’ the Russian diplomat said.

Speaking in Kragujevac, central Serbia on Tuesday afternoon, Serbian President Boris Tadi? ‘thanked Russia for sending the humanitarian aid’, and added that ‘no convoy carrying aid to Serbs in Kosovo should be stopped as they are today the most vulnerable ethnic group in Europe’.

Russian trucks through, EULEX turned back

Earlier in the day, Serbs in northern Kosovo removed a barricade this morning to let through a convoy of 25 trucks carrying Russian humanitarian aid enter northern Kosovo.

The barricade was located in front of the Jarinje administrative line checkpoint, in the area that’s part of central Serbia.

The vehicles then reached Jarinje, which is controlled by EULEX officials. Journalists also saw police officers of the Kosovo Albanian authorities from Priština there, but they did not check the trucks and cars.

Russian Ambassador in Belgrade Aleksandr Konuzin traveled in the convoy. At the barricade, he exited his car to shake hands with the Serbs guarding the roadblock and took pictures with them.

But when a convoy of 11 vehicles belonging to the EU mission in the province, EULEX, headed for Jarinje from the southern, ethnic Albanian, part of Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbs turned them back twice from two locations.

Initially, it was said that EULEX was sending vehicles to escort the Russian convoy, but when Konuzin said that such escort was not needed, Serbs stopped the EULEX vehicles in Zve?an.

That convoy went back via the ethnic Albanian village of ?abra and via Jagnjenica, but soon after they made another attempt to reach Jarinje. The locals then stopped them in the village of Žerovnica near the town of Zve?an.

Kosovska Mitrovica Mayor Krstimir Panti? told reporters that the Serbs blocked EULEX because the mission was ‘transporting Kosovo border police and customs’ to Jarinje, as well as Albanian-language media crews from Priština, whose goal was to report that ‘the road toward Jarinje is passable, and that a Russian humanitarian envoy was the first to cross a customs post that Serbs are boycotting’.

Panti? described this as ‘yet another unnecessary provocation’ on the part of EULEX:

‘This new provocation by EULEX was meant to cause the Serbs to react inappropriately and be blamed for that. It was unnecessary for EULEX to head toward the north when nobody asked them to do that.’

Ambassador Konuzin was expected to address the citizens at another barricade, in Leposavi?, and then in Kosovska Mitrovica, where the aid shipment is to be handed over to the Red Cross.

The shipment consists of food, tents, blankets, and other goods, and will be distributed to Serb families most in need of such assistance.

It was announced that the ceremony in northern Kosovska Mitrovica would be attended by officials of the Ministry for Kosovo, the Red Cross, and local self-administration.

The presence of the Kosovo police was noticeably reinforced along the main road from Kosovska Mitrovica to Jarinje, said Tanjug’s reporters in the province.

====

Russian Ambassador Decries Political Blackmail In Kosovo

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/14/62174988.html

Itar-Tass
December 14, 2011

Political blackmail in Kosovo – Ambassador

A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid from the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry has become an object of political blackmail. This was announced on Tuesday by the Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin.

‘The Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) has once again gone beyond its mandate and has taken the side of the Kosovo Albanian authorities,’ said Konuzin.

According to him, after the first two trucks successfully passed the necessary customs formalities on the border between central Serbia and Kosovo, the procedure was abruptly stopped without explanation by orders from the mission’s leadership.

According to the Ambassador, the basis of the actions was ‘politically motivated.’

====

Kosovo Is Main Drug Transit Center In Europe: Russian Anti-Drug Chief

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/13/62165641.html

Itar-Tass
December 13, 2011

Kosovo – main drug transit center in Europe – Russia’s anti-drug chief

Kosovo has turned into the main drug trafficking transit center in Europe, Russia`s anti-drug chief Viktor Ivanov said Tuesday.

He is now in Ljubljana where he is taking part in a ministerial conference of the Council of Europe Pompidou Group on combating drug abuse and illicit trafficking in Drugs.

Annually about 50 tons of heroin are transferred via Kosovo, he said. “

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.