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Did Serbia Let The Embassy Attack Happen ?

by @ 8:14 am on February 28, 2008. Filed under Foreign Affairs, Serbia

A U.S. Intelligence official said yesterday that there was evidence that Serbian police let the attack on the U.S. Embassy happen:

The Serbian government decided to pull back its police in Belgrade last Thursday so that demonstrators could attack the U.S. and British embassies, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell told a Senate committee yesterday.

“We have good information that when the U.S. embassy and the British embassy and others were attacked, a decision was taken by the government of Serbia actually to pull the police back and allow them to be attacked, burn the embassy and conduct the violence they conducted,” McConnell told the Senate Armed Services Committee in answer to a question during his testimony on worldwide threats.

McConnell also noted that there is apparently a disagreement at the highest levels of the Serbia government over exactly how to deal with Kosovo:

McConnell, however, described yesterday a disagreement between Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Serbian President Boris Tadic. Kostunica, he said, “is more closely aligned with Russia” and “is determined to roll [the independence of Kosovo] back if at all possible. Without elaborating, McConnell said that “some level of violence is probably going to ensue.” At the rally that preceded the embassy attack, Kostunica told the crowd: “As long as we live, Kosovo is Serbia.”

Tadic “is convinced that integration with the European Union . . . is a better course of action,” McConnell said. Last week, Tadic condemned the violence and told reporters it must “never happen again.”

What happens next in Kosovo may depend on who wins the power struggle in Belgrade.

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