Dutch FM says EU security mission in Kosovo needs no new UN mandate

The European Union could send a police and security force into Kosovo without a new United Nations Security Council resolution, Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said Tuesday, underscoring the deep rift between the EU and Russia over the breakaway Serbian province. European Union leaders last week agreed to send an 1,800-strong police and security mission to Kosovo to replace the current United Nations administrative mission, which has been in place since 1999. But Russia said Monday such a force would be illegal without UN authorization. Verhagen disagreed, saying Security Council Resolution 1244, which created the UN force, could also clear the way for a new EU mission. "In the end, 1244 - if it is not changed - is the basis," Verhagen told reporters in The Hague. "Of course it's preferable if there would be a new resolution accepted by the Security Council, but if this is blocked then we have to work on the basis of 1244."