NATO foreign ministers to discuss situation in Western Balkans on Wednesday: Stoltenberg

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg signals deployment of more troops to Kosovo

Talha Ozturk  | 27.11.2023 - Update : 28.11.2023
NATO foreign ministers to discuss situation in Western Balkans on Wednesday: Stoltenberg


NATO foreign ministers will discuss the security situation in the Western Balkans on Wednesday, said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday.

In a pre-ministerial press briefing held in Brussels, Stoltenberg stated that NATO is considering the deployment of additional troops to Kosovo to enhance safety and stability in the region.

"We will address the situation in the Western Balkans. We have seen serious violence in the northen Kosovo, divise and secessionist recruit in Bosnia and Herzegovina... NATO has already added 1,000 extra troops to Kosovo. We are examining more enduring increase of our presence in Kosovo," said Stoltenberg.

Last week, Stoltenberg visited the region and conducted a series of meetings with top officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia.

He reiterated his call for Serbia and Kosovo to engage in dialogue.

"Belgrade and Pristina must reengage in the European Union (EU)-facilitated dialogue. The stability depends on all sides choosing dialogue and diplomacy over conflict and caos," said Stoltenberg.

NATO increased the number of its troops in Kosovo following the Sept. 24 armed incident in the village of Banjska, in the north of Kosovo.

Under a UN Security Council resolution, NATO has led a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo since 1999. Currently, the mission has approximately 4,500 troops contributed by 27 NATO allies and partners.

Türkiye took command of NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR) on Oct. 9, with Ulutas formally assuming charge at a ceremony in Pristina.

Among 27 NATO member countries and partners, Türkiye has the second-largest contingent in KFOR, contributing 780 of its approximately 4,500 soldiers.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and was recognized by many countries, including Türkiye. But Belgrade has never recognized Kosovo and claims that it is still part of Serbia.

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