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Efforts by the European Union to take over policing in Kosovo
Efforts by the European Union to take over policing in Kosovo from the United Nations in June are only fanning tensions in the region, a deputy Russian foreign minister said on Thursday.

The EU plans to deploy a 2,000-strong police and justice mission in Kosovo to eventually replace the UN mission.

The UN mission in Kosovo, stationed in the area since the end of an interethnic conflict in 1999, plans to 'reconfigure' itself in the region after June 15, when Kosovo's government is due to take over from the UN.

"The EU mission... due to its illegitimate status is not able to fulfill its functions in the civil sphere [in Kosovo]," Alexander Yakovenko told the government daily, Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

The diplomat said the deployment of the EU mission in the province was possible only under the UN auspices with Belgrade's consent. "The attempts to replace the UN mission and to appropriate its goals and mandate simply make the situation even worse," Yakovenko said.

Kosovo, with a 90% ethnic-Albanian majority, has been formally recognized as a sovereign state by over 35 countries including the U.S. and most EU members since it proclaimed its independence from Serbia on February 17.

Russia, Serbia's long-time ally and a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, has refused to recognize Kosovo's independence.


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