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Kosovars urged to cooperate with UN in stemming violence

Kosovars urged to cooperate with UN in stemming violence

The new commander of the international security force in Kosovo (KFOR) today urged Kosovars to help KFOR and the United Nations isolate extremists pursuing political ends through violence.

"I am convinced that the majority of the population of Kosovo rejects these attacks," General Thorstein Skiaker of Norway told a press conference in Pristina. He added that most Kosovars wished "nothing more than live in peace and security with some hope of prosperity."

General Skiaker pledged determined action against the extremists, regardless of their ethnic background or political aims. "I know that KFOR and UNMIK [the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo], working together, will make progress in the fight against violence."

Meanwhile, Kosovo Serbs continued to protest tax collection points in Mitrovica, according to an UNMIK spokesman, who stressed that such points had been set up to collect excise and sales taxes -- not customs duties.

In an effort to clarify the matter, UNMIK chief Hans Haekkerup met today with the representative of the Yugoslav Government Committee on Kosovo to explain at length the difference between the taxes being collected by the UN and customs taxes.

In another development, the UNMIK police announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with a car bomb explosion in Pristina on 19 April. The police confirmed that the suspect was carrying a German passport, but released no further details. The UN is continuing its investigation of the explosion.