The Presevo Valley next to the Kosovo province in southern Serbia is the scene of increasingly violent clashes between ethnic Albanian extremists and Serb security forces.
(AIK – Presheva Jone)
The Presevo Valley next to the Kosovo province in southern Serbia is the scene of increasingly violent clashes between ethnic Albanian extremists and Serb security forces. An estimated 1,600 armed guerillas from the self-styled Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (UCPMB) are operating inside a five kilometre wide ground safety zone (GSZ) dividing Kosovo, which is patrolled by NATO-led forces, and Serbia’s Presevo Valley.
The buffer zone is off limits to both NATO and Serb security forces, but is being used by the UCPMB as cover to attack Serb military and police located on the Presevo side. The Serb plan calls for a reduction and eventual elimination of the GSZ, claiming its original purpose — to separate NATO and Serb security forces — is no longer necessary now there is a new reformist government in Belgrade.
One of the proposals put forward by the Serbs to demilitarise at least part of the conflict zone within 120 days is deemed over-optimistic by NATO. Robertson said: “The problems caused over 40 years cannot be solved in four months.” He described the proposals as “complex” and went on to say they would require a “great deal of study.”
But Robertson pledged that NATO “will continue with its efforts to cut off the supply of people and arms into the ground safety zone.”