Italian DM says KFOR "to keep protecting Serbs in Kosovo"
Italian Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta met with President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, on Monday, Beta agency reported.Source: Beta, srbija.gov.rs
Trenta said that the Kosovo Force (KFOR) would continue to play an important role in preserving peace and stability, and in protecting the Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija, under the command of an Italian general.
The Office of the Serbian President said in a press release that Vucic and Trenta agreed it was necessary to continue the talks between Belgrade and Pristina.
Vucic shared a deep concern over the steps Pristina had taken to set up a so-called Kosovo army, warning that a possible entry by that army into the north of Kosovo would drive Serbia into a corner.
Minister Trenta said that Italy believed Serbia was key to peace and stability in the Western Balkans.
She also said that Italy respected Serbia's neutral military status, also appreciating the country's commitment to cooperation with the NATO, and particularly the role of Serbian soldiers in U.N. and EU peacekeeping missions across the world.
Vucic expressed thanks for Italy's support to Serbia in the EU accession process, as well the country's interest in developing bilateral ties in all areas.
Trenta is the first member of Italy's new government, led by Lega (League) and Movimento 5 Stelle (Five Star Movement), to have visited Belgrade.
She was also received by Prime Minister Ana Brnbic, when, according to a press release, they spoke about "further strengthening of relations between the two countries, the European integration of Serbia, and the current political situation in the region."
Brnabic assessed that Italy is one of the most important partners of Serbia and that good relations in all fields need to be further built and developed.
She expressed her gratitude for the strong and continued support that Italy has provided Serbia on its European path, pointing out that Serbia seriously approaches the implementation of reforms necessary for EU membership.
The interlocutors agreed that peace and stability are crucial, and that dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina needs to continue in order to reach a compromise solution.
Trenta pointed out that the KFOR mission is important and will, under the command of the Italian general, continue to work to preserve peace and stability in Kosovo and Metohija.
Brnabic said that next year will be very important for relations between the two countries, when two great anniversaries will be marked - 140 years of diplomatic relations and ten years of strategic partnership.
The prime minister suggested that the concrete contribution to the strengthening of the partnership be a joint session of the governments of the two countries in Belgrade.