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Russia warns: Don’t train Syrian rebels in Kosovo

18/05/2012

The Russian Foreign Ministry urged the international bodies operating in Kosovo to prevent the region from turning into training ground for Syrian rebels.

Press reports said earlier that a delegation from the Syrian opposition visited Kosovo in April to allegedly make a deal on exchanging experience in guerilla warfare against ruling authorities.

“There are plans to use the areas [in Kosovo] that resemble the terrain in Syria. The possibility of setting up training camps at the former bases of the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA] is also being discussed,” the statement said.

Monument of Zahir Pajaziti, cofounder of the K...

Monument of Zahir Pajaziti, cofounder of the Kosovo Liberation Army or KLA (Albanian: Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës or UÇK). The monument is placed in the center of Pristina. Deutsch: Statue von Zahir Pajaziti, Mitbegründer der UÇK (Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës, dt.: „Befreiungsarmee des Kosovo“). Die Statue liegt im Zentrum von Pristina. Català: Estàtue de Zahir Pajaziti, cofundador de l’UÇK (Exèrcit d’Alliberament de Kosovë). L’estàtua està ubicada al centre de Pristina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ethnic Albanian KLA fought a separatist war against the regime of President Slobodan Milosevic in 1998-99. About 10,000 people died in the Kosovo conflict.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008. Both Serbia and Russia have refused to recognize Kosovo’s independence.

[youtube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6WrR6Qapjs]

Asked if Kosovo had established training centers for Syrian rebels, Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj said: “Not at all.”

Speaking after a regular council meeting on Kosovo, Hoxhaj made clear that Pristina was offering political support to the Syrian opposition, which is locked in a 14-month-old battle with forces loyal to Assad.

“We were among the first governments in Europe who was supporting the opposition in Libya and in other Arab countries last year, because we were fighting for the same aspirations, for the same values,” he said, according to Reuters.

“We have the same approach to Syria and have some diplomatic contacts between my government and (the) Syrian opposition,” Hoxhaj said. “We are supporting very much their cause.”

Hoxhaj was responding to the comments by Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who warned the U.N. Security Council that Kosovo should not be allowed to become a training center for rebels.

“Turning Kosovo into an international training center for insurgents of various armed units could become a serious destabilizing factor, one going beyond the Balkan region,” Churkin said. “We call on international presences operating in Kosovo to curb such slippage.”

Russia said it was “absolutely clearal-Qaeda was behind the twin bomb attacks in Damascus that killed 55 people and vowed to continue to arm the regime.

* Kosovo support Syria’s opposition

* Russia warns against Syrian rebels’ training in Kosovo

* Annan’s peace plan faltering as Russia warns Kosovo not to train Syria rebels

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* Syrian rebels, getting top treatment in Turkey, eye quick homecoming

* Kosovo

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