Kosovo Serbs 'facing food, medicine shortages'
BELGRADE — A embargo imposed by authorities in Pristina has led to severe shortages of food and medicine among ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo, media reports said on Sunday.
Suppliers from Serbia have been unable to deliver bread and milk to the towns of Lesak, Leposavic and northern Mitrovica, the Belgrade-based Beta news agency reported.
Shops in the towns were also on the verge of selling out of meat and sugar products and customers have been stockpiling flour and yeast, the report said.
Supplies of bottled water were runnng low while doctors at the main health centre in the major town of Mitrovica expressed worries over medicine shortages, the report said.
Long queues could also be seen at petrol stations throughout northern Kosovo.
The report of the shortages comes after the mainly ethnic Albanian government in Pristina decided earlier this month to ban all imports from Serbia.
The Pristina government even sent in its own police to seize control of two border crossings last week where they thought the local ethnic Serb officers were turning a blind eye to imports.
That move sparked riots and eventually led to NATO peacekeepers taking control of the border crossings which have been effectively closed since Thursday.
Belgrade and the Kosovo's ethnic Serb minority have never recognised the government in Pristina, which unilaterally declared independence in 2008.
Serbia's parliament held an extraordinary session on Saturdaay, calling for a peaceful solution to be found through a dialogue, but warning on a danger of a fresh conflict.
Serbia banned imports from Kosovo immediately after the independence declaration and Pristina's decision to retaliate caught many by surprise.
More than 90 percent of Kosovo's imported food comes from Serbia, one of its main suppliers with goods totalling 260 million euros ($370 million) a year.