Bosnia Serb police prepare for unrest over Kosovo

SARAJEVO – Police in Bosnia’s Serb Republic, an ally of Serbia, are on alert in case of unrest over the proclamation of Kosovo’s independence this week, local media reported on Tuesday.

All police stations in the region will be ready to identify possible flashpoints, the Sarajevo-based daily Oslobodjenje quoted Serb Republic police director Uros Pena as saying.

The Bosnian Serbs are strongly against the secession of Kosovo from Serbia and have repeatedly warned they might follow suit and mount a campaign to secede from Bosnia if the autonomy of their half of the Bosnian state is endangered.

Under the 1995 Dayton accords which ended the 1992-95 war, Bosnia is made up of the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat federation.

“We are aware there could be certain reactions in the Serb Republic and that they will surely happen,” Pena said.

Kosovo Albanians are expected to declare their province independent from Serbia on Sunday with Western support, a move sure to anger Serbia and its backer, Russia.

Serb Republic leaders have said they would never recognize the independence of Kosovo but that the move should not have an impact on the situation in their region.

Prime Minister Milorad Dodik said anxiety was rising but authorities would stay calm, the daily Nezavisne Novine reported.

“Those who have supported such a unilateral act must count on the fact that they are creating a new situation in the region and in the world,” Dodik said.

Dodik said last month that the “right of self-determination and secession” should be incorporated in the Bosnian constitution, a suggestion immediately dismissed by Bosnia’s international peace overseer, Miroslav Lajcak.

Lajcak has warned Bosnia’s rival ethnic leaders to move faster together towards the membership of the European Union as a safeguard against a possible crisis in Kosovo.

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