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Serbia Withdraws Military Forces from Kosovo Border Amid International Pressure
Serbia withdraws military forces from Kosovo border following international pressure. President Vucic's conversation with US Secretary of State Blinken emphasised the need for truth and de-escalation.
Belgrade, Serbia, THE FRONTLINER — In response to growing concerns expressed by Washington and Brussels over the movement of Serbian forces along the border with Kosovo, Serbia announced the withdrawal of its military troops. On Saturday, a military convoy was observed moving from the southern town of Vranje towards Nis, near the city of Presevo, following the recent incident in Banjska, Zvecan, where a deadly armed attack occurred, resulting in the deaths of Kosovo Police officer Afrim Bunjaku and three attackers.
The convoy, comprising Serbian military vehicles, was seen heading northward from the southern region of the country, as reported by Radio Free Europe. Eyewitnesses reported the sighting of Serbian military trucks and a tank turning back near the Merdare area on the Kosovo side of the border.
The city of Presevo is located 300 kilometers south of Belgrade and approximately 100 kilometers from the nearest border crossing between Serbia and Kosovo, Merdare.
The Kosovo government, along with the United States and the European Union, condemned the attack in Banjska as a terrorist act. Serbia, however, denied its involvement in the incident.
Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, revealed that he had a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during which he was warned about punitive measures if Serbia did not act accordingly.
Describing the conversation with Blinken as challenging and lengthy, Vucic stated that there were points of agreement and disagreement. He emphasized the need for heightened tensions and a more significant role for KFOR (Kosovo Force), a NATO-led international peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.
"We would like KFOR's role to be exclusive, especially in the north. I denied the untruths claiming that we have the highest readiness level of our army. I have not signed and agreed on the nature of what happened, especially regarding Kosovo's sovereignty," said President Vucic. He also disclosed that Blinken discussed possible measures if Serbia did not comply with the expectations.
"I told him you are the power. I am against this. We must stick to the truth," he added.
The situation remains tense as international pressure mounts on Serbia to maintain peace and stability in the region. The withdrawal of military forces from the Kosovo border is seen as a significant step towards de-escalating the situation and preventing further conflict in the area. The international community continues to monitor the situation closely, emphasizing the importance of dialogue and peaceful resolution to maintain peace in the Balkans.
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