"Cooperation with KFOR reduces potential for tension"

BELGRADE -- The security situation in northern Kosovo improved with the signing of the Brussels agreement, but it is still fragile, says General Ljubiša Diković.

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

The chief of staff of the Serbian Army (VS) told the daily Večernje Novosti that "commitment to resolving issues through dialogue and cooperation with the international forces in Kosovo reduces the potential of tensions spreading to central Serbia, where the security situation is stable."

The number of incidents has gone down, he said of the situation in northern Kosovo, and added, "On the other hand, the implementation of the Brussels agreement could cause a reaction from dissatisfied and extremist groups."

No significant changes to the situation in Kosovo are expected in the near future, but the VS is capable of rising to any challenge and is professional and responsible in its tasks in the Ground Safety Zone, where it is a factor of stability, he said.

The relations with KFOR are fair and professional, which reflects a high level of trust and understanding, the army chief remarked.

"Serbia, together with its Russian partners, is doing everything to acquire six Russian MiG-29 M2 aircraft as soon as possible, he said, adding he believed all the details would be agreed by Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu's visit in the fall, he pointed out.

There are also negotiations on buying an anti-air defence system, which would ensure control of Serbia's airspace in the next few decades, Diković added.

"The military cooperation between Serbia and Russia was not at the level we wanted it to be, but it has improved lately. The signing of the strategic partnership declaration gave it new momentum," he said, adding that cooperation with the Russian military was no obstacle to cooperation with NATO members.

Diković said he had discussed with Russia's Chief of the General Staff General Valery Gerasimov joint training for Russian and Serbian troops, presence at exercises and better cooperation in military economy and education, air force and air defense.

"Serbia cooperates bilaterally with around 60 countries, the most important of which are China, the U.S., Russia, Norway and EU members," the general concluded.