NATO "not against Kosovo army"; Serbia: There cannot be two
Speaking at a gathering in Belgrade on Thursday, a NATO representative said the alliance was "not against" an army being formed in Kosovo army.Source: Tanjug
But that this must be done in accordance with the (Kosovo) Constitution, said Robert Pszczel, a senior officer for Russia and the Western Balkans from NATO's Public Diplomacy Department (PDD).
According to Pszczel, the transformation of the Kosovo Security Forces is the right of Kosovo authorities, "but that any development must be carried out in accordance with the Constitution and in consultation with the international community."
"If we were to take away that right from them, then we know what the situation there is like, and what that would mean," said Pszczel.
When it comes to the presence of KFOR in Kosovo, according to Pszczel, there are no plans to reduce or change anything, while their presence depends on the security situation. NATO's position is to continue the search for a solution acceptable to all sides, he added.
Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Branimir Filipovic said that Serbia's position is that the transformation of the Kosovo Security Forces into an army runs against UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
"There cannot be two armies in one field. NATO has the view that the transformation is possible through the constitutional framework, and we have in common that we are against unilateral moves. Precisely such moves by Pristina represent the problems that are the biggest in this area," said Filipovic.
He recalled that the problems began when Pristina unilaterally proclaimed the independence of Kosovo.
"Serbia, in this regard, expects a clear NATO position, like two years ago when Pristina also tried to carry out that transformation. It's better to solve some things earlier so that they don't have the potential for tension eruption," said Filipovic.
He added that Serbia has certain expectations regarding the protection of cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija and that it is very important that it can count on KFOR as a structure that is most capable of ensuring peace and stability, regardless of there being others, like EULEX.
"We expect KFOR to use its capacities and act preventively in order to avoid escalation," said Filipovic.