"Second phase against Serbian operators"

A Kosovo Albanian government agency in Priština has announced the second phase of removing Serbian mobile operators from the province.

Source: Beta, Tanjug

The director of the agency in charge of telecommunications, Ekrem Hoxha, said that the agency will be asking the municipalities of Gračanica, Štrpce, Leposavić, Prizren and Peć to remove Serbian mobile transmitters.

He said that the agency has told Telekom Srbija, Telenor and VIP that “their antennas will not be functioning in Kosovo after a 30-day deadline,” claiming that the companies are working illegally in Kosovo.

Hoxha said that the second phase “will enable a voluntary removal of antennas” and warned that RAT will remove the transmitters itself if they are not taken down by the Serbian operators.

He said that the agency, RAT, “will not tolerate companies and individuals who are directly or indirectly involved in offering telecommunications services without licenses in Kosovo.”

In the first unannounced phase of the action, some 100,000 Serbs were left without mobile phone service in Kosovo for an extended period of time.

The action of the Priština institutions was criticized by both the Serbian and international public.

Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić called the action a serious violation of contemporary norms of humanity.

International officials in Kosovo said that the way the action was carried out was unacceptable, since no one was warned before the mobile networks were disabled.

Telekom Srbija has repaired and restored most of its transmitters in Kosovo since. Kosovo police also arrested five Telekom Srbija workers who were repairing transmitter and fined them EUR 520 each.

Ivanović: Kosovo govt. won’t succeed

Kosovo Ministry State Secretary Oliver Ivanović said that the Kosovo government will not be successful in its intentions of removing all the Serbian mobile operators in the province, adding that Priština is trying to focus attention off bigger problems with these actions.

“I believe that we will succeed in keeping the transmitters there, but we must put in a lot of effort, energy and time,” he told the Beta news agency.

Ivanović said that such unilateral moves are endangering the lives of Serb in Kosovo.

”Such statements represent a dangerous act of playing with fire. I am sure that the idea will not pass. It seems that such an incident is needed to show that they are in power, so the government can earn political points and show that it has control over the entire territory of Kosovo,” Ivanović said.

He also said that it is an effort to take away attention from the fact that there are 350,000 unemployed persons in Kosovo and that there are no plans for solving such problems.

“Focus is also being taken away from the corruption and the EULEX investigations of the Transport and Telecommunications Ministry,” Ivanović said.