Kosovo miners suspend strike at 'near-bankrupt' mine

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Hundreds of miners in Kosovo have ended their strike at a near-bankrupt mine after the Prime Minister Isa Mustafa urged them to halt the action.

The move followed several hours of negotiations between the management of the Trepca mining firm and the workers on Thursday.

Mustafa had said in a letter sent a day earlier to the miners: "The government of Kosovo will not allow any action that would jeopardize the interest of Trepca and the state of Kosovo."

He called for the protest, in which about 700 miners refused to resurface at the end of their shift on Tuesday, to "end as soon as possible".

Mustafa also said the government had taken the "necessary steps" to prevent the bankruptcy of Trepca, which is reported to have debts totaling €1.4 billion ($1.6 billion), and established a "development perspective".

- Decision reversed

About 700 miners 750 meters underground at the mine in northern Kosovo had refused to resurface on Wednesday demanding that the Kosovo government take over the near-bankrupt mine in Mitrovica with 24 hours.

The Kosovo government claims the mine company should be under the control of Pristina, while officials in Belgrade state it is 56 percent-owned by the Serbian Development Fund and Kosovo has no right to claim ownership.

Kosovo's new government said last week that they would take control of the Trepca mining complex through nationalization, but reversed its decision on Monday following a furious response from Serbia and intense discussions with Western diplomats.

Belgrade has warned that any attempt by Kosovo Government to take over the mine would jeopardize EU-mediated talks between the two sides.

The Trepca mine straddles the border between Kosovo and Serbia.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency