Kosovo: UN official voices ‘outrage’ at attack on Serb family

20 September 2006

A senior United Nations official today expressed outrage at an attack on a Kosovo Serb family in which four people were wounded in an explosion at their home in the Albanian-majority Serbian province administered by the world body ever since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid grave rights abuses in ethnic fighting.

“We condemn this act of violence directed at innocent people,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Principal Deputy Special Representative Steven Schook said of last night’s blast in the town of Klina, which followed a recent spate of grenade and bomb attacks at a time when talks are underway to decide the province’s final status.

“Violence cannot be a means to achieve an end. It serves no purpose and it certainly is not in the interests of Kosovo,” Mr. Schook added.

He asked Police Commissioner Stephen Curtis to vigorously pursue the investigation into the attack, and called on anyone with knowledge of the incident to come forward and assist the police.

“I was encouraged to see the immediate reaction of the Kosovo authorities to this incident, including by the Prime Minister (Agim Ceku ) and Mayor of Klina. We must all work together to ensure that Kosovo is a place where people of all ethnicities can live together in peace,” said Mr. Schook.

In his latest report earlier this month, Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for “more flexibility” from all sides in deciding Kosovo’s final status. Independence and autonomy are among options mentioned for the province, where Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1. Serbia rejects independence.

Last month assailants hurled a grenade at a café in mainly Serb north Mitrovica, injuring nine people and there have been several bomb attacks in recent days on cars, including that of Interior Minister Fatmir Rexhepi.

 

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