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The closing of the branches of the Serbian bank in the north of Kosovo, the USA reacts strongly

The closing of the branches of the Serbian bank in the north of Kosovo, the USA

The US State Department expressed its disappointment over the closure by Kosovo police of six units of the "Postal Savings Bank" of Serbia in the north of the country, saying that "this action was not coordinated with international partners" and that it "escalates tensions".

"It (the action) undermines the perception that Kosovo is acting in good faith to resolve the issues between it and Serbia through the Dialogue facilitated by the EU," said a spokesperson for the State Department, responding to the interest of the Voice of America.

The spokesperson points out that "the United States government has repeatedly sought coordination between our governments" in order to support Kosovo's progress on its Euro-Atlantic path, including recently "by Undersecretary of State Elizabeth Allen in her meeting with Prime Minister Kurti on May 19".

The State Department reiterated the concern of the United States regarding the measures of the Central Bank of Kosovo regarding restrictions on the use of the Serbian dinar.

"We call on the government of Kosovo to return to constructive engagement in the dialogue mediated by the EU as the right way to resolve the issues related to the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia and respond to the needs base of all its citizens -- including those of the Serbian minority -- negatively impacted by the recent changes in currency regulation," the State Department spokesperson concludes.

Postal Savings Bank is the institution that distributed Belgrade payments to Serbian citizens in Kosovo.

The Kosovo Police said that the operation to close the units of this bank was carried out in cooperation with the Central Bank of Kosovo and the Tax Administration of Kosovo and that the aim was to "establish order and legality", calling  the Postal Savings Bank in the North of the country, illegal" .

The police said that they confiscated "about one million and 600 thousand euros, 74 million and 700 thousand dinars, 19 thousand and 500 francs, 13 thousand and 800 American dollars, 40 Australian dollars as well as other documents and evidence".

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Xelal Sveçla, wrote on social networks that "the rule of law and order, service to all citizens without any distinction will continue to be our goal to which we have continuously committed ourselves".

The head of the office for Kosovo in the government of Serbia, Petar Petkovic, described the action as  "another violent act of abolishing Serbian institutions in the north and expelling the Serbian people."

He said that "Albin Kurti wants war and suffering for the Serbian people, because everything he does in the last months, he does exclusively for the sake of expelling Serbs from the territory of Kosovo".

Monday's operation takes place almost four months after the entry into force of the regulation of the Central Bank of Kosovo according to which the euro is the only currency that can be used for cash payments in Kosovo.

Kosovo and Serbia had agreed to talk in Brussels with the facilitation of the European Union to find a solution to the issue of payments, but without success even after seven meetings.

Diplomats have repeatedly called on the government of Kosovo to suspend the regulation of the Central Bank and to give time to the affected citizens to adapt to the new situation. This issue has turned into a topic of disagreement between the government in Pristina and Western diplomacy and the quality of the partnership with the United States./ VOA