NATO chief calls on Kosovo, Serbia to de-escalate tension

NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo performs duty in ‘impartial’ way, says Jens Stoltenberg

Agnes Szucs  | 22.06.2023 - Update : 22.06.2023
NATO chief calls on Kosovo, Serbia to de-escalate tension


NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday called on Kosovo and Serbia to de-escalate tension and continue EU-mediated talks.

Speaking at a joint news conference after his meeting with Montenegro’s President Jakov Milatovic, Stoltenberg reaffirmed NATO’s “unwavering” commitment to the KFOR NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

“We have increased our presence and will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all communities in Kosovo,” he said.

He said that KFOR assumes its duty in an “impartial” way amid recent heightened tensions.

Stoltenberg urged “all parties to de-escalate” and welcomed that leaders of Serbia and Kosovo meet in Brussels on Thursday.

He said that reducing tensions is “key for the security of Kosovo and stability in the region.”

For his part, Milatovic stressed that Montenegro “strongly supports” the EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti meet EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell as tensions rose high in Northern Kosovo last month following municipal elections.

NATO decided to deploy 700 more troops in the KFOR mission after 30 of its soldiers were injured amid unrest.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, with most UN member-states, including the US, UK, France, Germany, and Türkiye, recognizing it as an autonomous country.

The KFOR international peacekeeping mission has been operating in Kosovo since 1999 under a UN-mandate.

Launched in 2011, the EU-led Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue aims to normalize relations between the two Balkan countries and to find a mutually agreeable solution for the disputes in the framework of a legally binding agreement.

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