NATO warns Kosovo against unilateral steps in creating army

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Kosovo authorities on Wednesday to refrain from unilateral steps in transforming the Kosovo Security Force to a regular army.

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

Stoltenberg said that NATO has supported the development of the KSF as a professional, increasingly multi-ethnic force, but 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,” he said adding that NATO will remain in close contact with counterparts in the European Union.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci asked the parliament on Tuesday to transform Kosovo Security Force into Army of Kosovo.

Thaci handed over to the President of the Assembly, Kadri Veseli, the draft law foreseeing the controversial change, strongly opposed by Belgrade, which does not recognize Kosovo’s independence.

“Kosovo is finally creating its army”, Thaci said Tuesday.

Kosovo Declared its independence in 2008 and established the Kosovo Security Forces in 2009, with aobut 4000 regular and 2,500 reserve forces. /



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