The NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo -- Kfor -- yesterday (August 5, 2010) began transferring the protection of Serbian shrines to police in the mostly Albanian former Serbian province.
The monastery Gracanica -- on the outskirts of Pristina -- was the first of the "properties with designated special status" handed over to Kosovo police for protection, according to the Earth Times website.
The move drew protests from Serbia, where Goran Bogdanovic -- the Kosovo minister -- said it was "unacceptable" and a "provocation." He said, "It is unacceptable that Serbian shrines and priests are guarded by Kosovo police. Our people do not trust them."
Kosovo -- a former Serbian province with a 90-percent ethnic Albanian population -- declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008.
Belgrade officials have vowed never to recognize the break-away province, and have encouraged Kosovo's Serbian minority not to acknowledge central authorities in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo.