KFOR, NATO‘s peacekeeping force in Kosovo, is ready to step in if stability between Serbia and its former province is at risk.
This was stated by the Secretary General of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, BTA reported. He was speaking after a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels. It was about the recent tension between Belgrade and Pristina.
“NATO continues to closely monitor the situation on the ground. Our peacekeeping mission remains focused on its mandate and if stability is threatened, KFOR is ready to intervene and take all necessary measures to ensure security and freedom of movement,” Stoltenberg said at a joint press conference.
He stressed that while the situation on the ground has improved, it is the responsibility of all parties, especially officials from Belgrade and Pristina, to prevent further escalation. Stoltenberg called on the parties to show restraint.
“We have a significant military mission in Kosovo of nearly 4,000 troops and that helps prevent tension, escalation and any conflict,” he pointed out in response to a question.
In the joint address after the meeting, Vucic thanked Stoltenberg for his willingness to listen to Serbia‘s position and added that they had discussed everything happening in Kosovo.
“For Belgrade, peace and stability are crucial, and the role of KFOR and NATO in Kosovo is important, and therefore I believe that we will always be able to count on the understanding and desire of the Secretary-General, the alliance and KFOR for peace and stability in Kosovo and Metohija to be preserved“, said Vucic.
Jens Stoltenberg also spoke with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti.
Tensions rose in Kosovo at the beginning of the month. Serbs in the north then blocked roads to border crossings with Serbia in protest against the Kosovo government’s August 1 decision to issue them an entry-exit document replacing their identity cards issued by Belgrade on the territory of Kosovo. Again, from August 1, car registration plates issued in Serbia had to be replaced with Kosovo ones. Pristina announced that the measures are reciprocal.
The situation calmed down after Albin Kurti, under pressure from the EU and the US, agreed to delay the entry into force of the regulations until September 1. The blockades were lifted.
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