Peacekeepers in the region are “ready to act” in the event of a flare-up with minority Serbs, an alliance official says
NATO has indicated its willingness to deploy more troops to Kosovo in the unlikely event of violence between minority Serbs and local authorities.
Deputy commander of the US-led bloc’s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo (KFOR), Brigadier General Luca Piperni, told journalists on Tuesday that alliance forces are “vigilant and ready to act”Tensions can rise.
“We can also draw on reserve forces that we can call in at short notice,”Reuters quoted Piperni as having said the following:
The statement comes after NATO’s secretary general proclaimed last month that the bloc was ready to intervene if “stability”Kosovo is in danger, and KFOR will take responsibility “any measures that are necessary to ensure a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all the people of Kosovo.”
After Pristina banned the use of vehicle registration plates and documents issued by Serbia, tensions escalated between Kosovo and Serbia in August. Kosovo tried to enforce the new measure by sending heavily armed special police to take control of the Serbia-Kosovo border while local Serbs resisted by erecting roadblocks and engaging in violent clashes with Pristina’s forces.
After NATO peacekeepers were deployed to defuse the situation, Pristina’s government agreed to delay the implementation of the new law in return for the protesters dismantling their barricades.
As the Oct 31 deadline to end that delay approaches, tensions could once more flare at the border between Serbian and Kosovo.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has accused Pristina of challenging his country’s security and creating the risk of violent clashes in the region by increasing the presence of special forces on the border.
Vucic has also criticised the EU for trying press Belgrade to end the conflict with an agreement signed by Pristina. Vucic believes that the deal would have essentially recognized the independence province.
Kosovo was able to declare its independence after gaining support from the West. The US, along with many allies, has recognized Kosovo’s independence, but Serbia, Russia China, the UN and five EU member countries have not.
This story can be shared on social media