Tension Soars at Kosovo-Serbia Border as Albania's PM Urges UN to Recognize Republic of Kosovo

A public building in Kosovo was set on fire and another was hit by grenades that did not explode as Albania's PM Edi Rama called on UN member countries to recognize the Republic of Kosovo.

Kosovo government officials described the  explosions on Saturday as criminal acts related to ethnic Serbs protesting the decision to remove Serbian license plates from cars entering the country.

Serbian media quoted the head of the Zubin Potok fire department, Sasa Bozovic, as saying a fire that broke out overnight at the town's municipal building engulfed two offices. Bozovic did not identify the cause of the fire, said AP.

The Kosovo Interior Ministry said the blaze burned down a vehicle registration office. Ethnic Serbs angry over the removal of Serbian license plates have blocked the Kosovo-Serbia border with trucks since Monday.

“The Center of Vehicle Registration at the Zubin Potok commune has been burned by suspects in a criminal act with terrorist elements,” Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla wrote on Facebook.

In Zvecan, a town about 10 miles away, two hand grenades were thrown into a public office but did not explode, Prime Minister Albin Kurti said.

Kurti accused Serbia's government of “inciting and supporting” such behavior and “exploiting Kosovo citizens to provoke a serious international conflict.”

Both communes are in the north close to Serbia’s border, which is mainly populated by members of Kosovo's ethnic Serb minority.

Tensions soared Monday when Kosovo special police with armored vehicles were sent to the border to temporarily replace Serb license plates from cars driven in Kosovo. It’s a minor annoyance for drivers with a big symbolic impact.

After the grenade and fire incidents, Kosovo's government did not sound ready Saturday to pull the special police back any time soon.

In the meantime the statement of Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama from the UN General Assembly on the recognition of Kosovo has revolted Serbia. Immediately after Rama's call to recognize Kosovo, because,according to him, "This great Assembly will not be complete without one of the countries of our region, the Republic of Kosovo," reacted the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabic. The latter stressed that such statements are not good and that they do not help the security of the region. / Argumentum.al