By Mamonov Roman
Russia and the European Union have settled the conflict over a stranded Russian aid convoy for Kosovo Serbs.
The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry`s convoy of 25 trucks was stopped on Tuesday at a Kosovo border with Serbia. Police forces banned the convoy from traveling further, imposing their terms under which the aid could have been allowed in. The conflict was settled only after the issue was raised by President Dmitry Medvedev at the Russia-EU summit in Brussels on Thursday. By this time the convoy has arrived in the town of Kosovska Mitrovica in northern Kosovo.
A source in the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry confirmed in an interview with the VoR that all 25 trucks have passed through customs control on the Kosovo-Serbia border. After three days of waiting at the Jarinje checkpoint, it took the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, EULEX, only three hours to settle all formalities concerning the delivery of the humanitarian cargo aid. The deputy head of the ministry’s international affairs department Valery Shuikov told the VoR how the operation unfolded…
“In accordance with the earlier achieved agreement, at 7 a.m the trucks were allowed to cross the border. After a EU commission arrived at the scene, it did not take long to check every truck and set off. Some members of the EULEX are travelling with us now, although we believe there is no reason for it. For us, it just another cause for worry as we are responsible to ensure their security while going through the areas inhabited by Kosovo Serbs.”
The scandal broke out early this week when the EU police forces refused to allow the Russian aid convoy into northern Kosovo. The cargo, which consists of canned food, blankets, cutlery and power generators, had been earlier approved by President Dmitry Medvedev. Russian peacekeepers were told to allow Albanian customs officers and journalists to accompany the convoy as they were afraid that the aid was intended not for the general Kosovo Serb population but for those protesting near the roadblocks against Albanian rule. After the issue was raised by President Medvedev at the Russia-EU summit in Brussels, the sides agreed that three jeeps driven by EULEX police officers would be accompanying the Russian convoy and that there will be no Kosovo Albanians following them along the route.