NATO on Saturday called for de-escalation in Kosovo where tension heightened between the Kosovo police and local Serbs.
“We urge the Institutions in Kosovo to de-escalate immediately & call on all parties to resolve the situation through dialogue,” said NATO’s spokesperson Oana Lungescu on Twitter.
She added that KFOR, the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo, “remains vigilant & will ensure a safe & secure environment.”
In a related development on Friday evening, France, Italy, Germany, the UK, and the US also released a joint statement on the latest escalation in Kosovo.
Condemning Kosovo’s decision to force access to municipal buildings in northern Kosovo, the countries urged the government to immediately step back and de-escalate, and closely coordinate with the KFOR and EULEX, the union’s rule of law mission in Kosovo.
The countries also expressed concern about We Serbia’s decision to raise the level of readiness of its armed forces at the border with Kosovo.
We call all parties for maximum restraint, avoiding inflammatory rhetoric, the statement concluded.
Serbia ordered its army Friday to advance to the administrative border with Kosovo and urged NATO to urgently stop violence against local Serbs in Kosovo.
President Aleksandar Vucic urged the army and security forces to be combat ready.
The move came after police in Kosovo clashed with local Serbs who gathered in front of the municipal building to block the newly-elected ethnic Albanian mayor from entering his office.
Police in riot gear were deployed around the premises, along with the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo and NATO Kosovo Forces personnel.
Stun grenades and tear gas injured at least 10 people after a police vehicle was set on fire and automatic gunfire was heard, according to media reports.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.