Peacekeeper wounded in Kosovo

A NATO peacekeeper was slightly wounded in Kosovo on Tuesday during a gunfight between two groups of ethnic Albanians, an alliance spokesman said.

The peacekeeper, who was not identified, was shot when his patrol showed up at a gunfight between two ethnic Albanian groups near the boundary with Serbia in the northeast of Kosovo, said Col. Pio Sabbeta, a spokesman for the NATO peacekeepers, known as KFOR.

Police detained seven ethnic Albanian men, Sabbeta said. One of those arrested was wounded during the incident, he said.

The soldier received medical treatment at a KFOR hospital in Kosovo.

The Czech Defense Ministry identified the injured peacekeeper as a Czech soldier serving with NATO troops in Kosovo, according to CTK, a Czech news agency.

There are some 500 Czech soldiers serving alongside 17,500 NATO-led peacekeepers that patrol this disputed U.N.-run province.

Meanwhile NATO's commander for southeastern Europe, Adm. Harry Ulrich, visited Kosovo Tuesday, as the alliance plans for maintaining security during negotiations on the disputed province's future status.

The United Nations and NATO have administered Kosovo since 1999, when NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days to force its troops withdraw from the province, the AP reports.

In the meanwhile negotiations on the final status of Kosovo officialy were opened yesterday and Russia insists that the solution must be the result of an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina and it should be resolved in a way that is consistent with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244.


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