26 August 2016, 10:31
Churkin calls Kosovo 'gray zone' in center of Europe used by radical Islamists
UN (New York), August 26, Interfax - Instability in Kosovo enables radical Islamists to use its territory as a transit hub for recruitment and training of militants, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Thursday.
"Given the weakness of law enforcement agencies and the security system in general, this territory is a 'gray zone' in the center of Europe which is being used as a safe harbor and a transit hub not only by the mob but also by radical Islamists. This enables extremist groups to use this territory for recruitment and training of militants," he said at a meeting of the UN Security Council dedicated to the Kosovo settlement process.
Kosovo ranks amongst the top three European territories in terms of the number of ISIL (banned in Russia) fighters per capita, Churkin said. "If any measures are being taken to contain this, they are obviously insufficient," the diplomat said.
He also called attention of UN Security Council members to the remaining low levels of security of Serbs in Kosovo. "This leads to the ongoing attacks of Kosovars, including by use of 'Molotov cocktail', against them," the envoy said.
Churkin gave an example of late June incidents, which happened during celebrations of a historical date memorable for the Serbs, the Battle of Kosovo.
"Not just tourists and pilgrims but also journalists and refugees and internally displaced persons who dare to return to their home country regularly encounter aggression. All that is happening with the practically complete connivance of the authorities," the diplomat said.
Russia is concerned about the future of Serb religious, cultural and historical sites in Kosovo, he said.
"Functions of their protection were taken away from relevant international presences and transferred to the Kosovo police but that did not resolve the problem of their security and conservancy. There is a need for weightier legal and other guarantees to be included in the list of Pristna's commitments," Churkin said.
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