NATO has "serious concerns" regarding "Kosovo army" plans

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says he has "serious concerns" regarding the proposal to form an army in Kosovo.

Source: B92, Beta
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

"Today (Wednesday), I have spoken to Hashim Thaci and Isa Mustafa to convey the serious concerns of NATO allies about recent proposals by the Kosovo authorities to transform the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) into an armed force, without a constitutional change," Stoltenberg said.

A statement posted on NATO' website, citing the western military alliance's chief, added:

"I made clear that unilateral steps such as these are unhelpful, and I urged the Kosovo authorities to remain in close contact with Belgrade."

"In recent years, NATO has supported the development of the KSF as a professional, increasingly multi-ethnic force," Stoltenberg continued, and added:

"The structure, mandate and mission of the KSF are a matter for local Kosovo institutions in accordance with their constitutional law. However, should the mandate of the KSF now evolve in the way proposed, NATO will have to review its level of commitment, particularly in terms of capacity-building. I made this clear during my visit to Kosovo in February and I reiterated it in my telephone conversations today."

"I remain in close contact with my counterparts in the European Union," the NATO chief concluded.

Earlier on Wednesday, Albanian language media in Pristina said that Kosovo's president, Hashim Thaci, did not have the support of the international community for his initiative.

Belgrade strongly opposes the formation of an army in Kosovo, and Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic said today that he expected help in this matter from the EU, the US, and Russia.

The Beta agency is reporting that Thaci on Tuesday introduced a draft new law on the KSF to parliamentary procedure, saying that the KSF's new mission would include defending Kosovo's "sovereignty and territorial integrity" but that "its name would not change."

On Wednesday, the Presidency of the Kosovo Assembly unanimously decided to send the draft to the Kosovo government.

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