Kosovo PM criticizes EU rule of law mission

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U.S. KFOR soldiers in military vehicles patrol past road barricades, in the village Rudare, north of the Serb-dominated part of the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovo, Wednesday, July 27, 2011. A policeman was seriously wounded after an ambush in Kosovo's north as tensions grow with local Serbs, a police official said Tuesday. The officer was shot and wounded in the head during a firefight near the northern town of Zubin Potok, as the police undertook an operation to extend the authority of the Kosovo government in the Serb-controlled north.(AP Photo/Zveki)

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci says the European Union's rule of law mission in Kosovo is failing to do its job in the new country.

In an unusually strong-worded address to his Cabinet on Wednesday, Thaci said the 3,000-strong rule of law mission "hesitated and refused" to back Pristina's decision to control two disputed crossings on the border with Serbia by sending special police units into the Serb-run north.

The comments came as about 1,000 ethnic Albanians gathered just north of the capital Pristina to attend the funeral of policeman Enver Zymberi, killed after his unit was ambushed by local Serbs angry at the police incursion.

The EU has condemned the move and the EU rule of law mission was quick to distance itself from the action.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo police have completed an operation to take control of two contested border crossings with Serbia.

Kosovo police spokesman Brahim Sadriu said the special police units did that in the volatile area on Wednesday, and an AP reporter at the scene confirmed it.

The operation has been condemned by the EU, but Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has defended his move, even though it left one of the policeman dead and four slightly injured.

The operation is aimed at placing troops loyal to Kosovo in a northern region that takes orders from Serbia as part of Belgrade's ongoing campaign to undermine Kosovo's 2008 secession.

Serb officials want Kosovo's ethnic Albanian police to fully withdraw from the Serb-run north and leave Serb members of the force to man the border crossings.