Germany and Austria slam violence in Northern Kosovo

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The German and Austrian ambassadors to Kosovo on Wednesday condemned the violent clashes in the north of the territory which left 30 NATO soldiers, mostly their nationals, wounded earlier this week.

German ambassador Ernst Reichel and his Austrian counterpart Johann Brieger "strongly condemned the violence used against soldiers of (NATO-led) KFOR and expressed their concern over its intensity," the embassies said in a joint press release.

The German and Austrian diplomats "called upon the people in the north of Kosovo not to allow themselves to be used by the perpetrators of violence for their own goals and to respect the mandate of KFOR to secure the freedom of movement."

KFOR said Tuesday that 30 of its soldiers were in hospital after Monday's clashes in northern Kosovo.

The clashes erupted after KFOR soldiers seized a Serb-set roadblock near Zupce in the north of Kosovo, where the vast majority of the population are Serbs who reject Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence.

Last week 21 KFOR soldiers were wounded in similar clashes with Kosovo Serbs when they tried to dismantle another roadblock close to one of two disputed border crossings.

© 2011 AFP

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