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Cuoci: Belgrade and Pristina together in investigation of Oliver Ivanovic murder (KIM Radio, Slobodno srpski)

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KFOR Commander, Major-General Salvatore Cuoci said in Slobodno srpski talk show that KFOR did not take part in the investigation of Oliver Ivanovic murder, but it is ready to get involved if asked. General Cuoci said in security aspects for the entire region, it would be very important to resolve this murder.

He further added, so far KFOR did not receive any request for support regarding Ivanovic murder investigation, and he remains certain that the prosecution and police actively work on finding evidences and resolving this case.

“What is significant, and what I would propose is that Belgrade and Pristina work together to resolve this case, since it is something that we consider as important for security and building trust in institutions,” General Cuoci explained.

“Incidents in Kosovo are not novelty – situation stable”

According to General Cuoci the security situation in entire Kosovo is calm and stable, and there are no greater differences in this regard between south and north of Kosovo.

Speaking about numerous incidents targeting Serbs and their properties during the last month, General Cuoci said that so far, the situation is under control.

“We are doing investigations regarding these cases, and it seems the number is on the level of cases we had before. We are assessing if these cases are ethnically motivated or not. Kosovo police also conducts investigations of these cases, and I personally think these events do not represent a threat to the security in Kosovo, however, they contribute to raising tensions (…),” General Cuoci said.

He added it is important that everybody in the region shows refrain, since it is very important not to have escalation in that regard. General Cuoci also said KFOR monitors the situation in a close co-operation with Kosovo police and EULEX, to assess it and avoid it turns into something bigger.

Speaking about potential consequences of NATO bombardment and depleted uranium on the health of people, General Cuoci said that the NATO independent commission dealt with this issue and confirmed there is not direct, continuous threat to the health of people.

Touching upon Kosovo Security Forces (KSF) transformation, General Cuoci repeated NATO stance that transformation of KSF into armed forces should happen through constitutional amendments. Asked what would KFOR stance be if such transformation happens through the law and not constitutional reform, Cuoci responded that in that case, KFOR would re-assess its mission.

“That would be a topic for decision of the North-Atlantic Council, where our member-states gather, and would give an opinion on transformation. It is a political level and it would happen on NATO level. Until such transformation occurs, nothing would change. 1244 is our Bible, and we are here based on 1244 and as long as it remains in force, basically nothing would change.”

“Kosovo to respect Law on Special Protected Zones”

General Cuoci said, he remains convinced that in case of reconstruction of a highway nearby Visoki Decani Monastery, the Law on Special Protected Zones would be respected.

“We are witnesses of a decision that the road would not go through protected zone, it would have a turning on the right, since this is respecting the law in Kosovo. Therefore, we are witnesses that the law in Kosovo would be respected, and we are pretty sure they would uphold the law, based on what the Kosovo institutions stated,” General Cuoci said.

Asked what would KFOR reaction be if reconstruction of a road near Visoki Decani Monastery continues, General Cuoci said it is not happening at the moment, and the entire international community, not KFOR only, are working on this issue.

“There is an EU that is considering a bypass road, there are other members of the international community being very vocal on this topic. I can tell you that the entire international community is watching on this issue, since it is connected to respecting protected zones and domestic laws, as well as understanding there are places that are specially protected when it comes to the environment. Given that the Monastery is UNESCO’s heritage as well, it is very important site, and I think Kosovo institutions should protect it,” General Cuoci said in Slobodno srpski talk show.


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