Daily: No NATO membership for Kosovo

BRUSSELS -- High-ranking NATO officials in Brussels believe there is no chance of Kosovo becoming a member of NATO in the foreseeable future.

Priština also cannot count on taking part in any program sponsored by the Alliance - "because UN membership is a necessary condition for accession," Belgrade-based daily Danas has reported.

There is no initiative for Kosovo's accession to NATO or possibly gaining partnership status, and nothing is happening in this regard, said several high-level NATO officials in Brussels.

They said UN membership was a prerequisite of NATO accession, and recalled that four members of the Alliance (Spain, Greece, Romania and Slovakia) "are yet to recognize Kosovo".

The officials explained the North Atlantic Treaty, signed in Washington in 1949 and the key document of the military-political alliance even today, does not specify that a candidate country must be a UN member, but under international law it is understood that the term 'state' refers only to those with a seat in the UN.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanians five years ago unilaterally declared independence, but Serbia rejected that proclamation as illegal.

As far as the Kosovo Security Force, whose development and training are being carried out under the control of NATO, its transformation into an army should not occur without the consent of the Alliance and detailed consultations, Danas quoted the officials.

"It is possible to arrive, through talks, at the solution that the KSF will be turned into the armed forces, and that this still be in line with the principles of all in NATO. Even if countries like Spain and Romania do not decide to actively support the transformation of the KSF into an army, a solution can still be reached, it just takes patience and cooperation," said the unnamed officials.

KSF Minister Agim Ceku said recently that he "hopes Kosovo will have its own military by June".