The secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, condemned in the strongest terms recent attacks against the Kosovo Force (KFOR) troops in the north of Kosovo, in which nearly 40 peacekeepers were injured, adding that both Pristina and Belgrade had to take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation.
“Such attacks are intolerable and must be stopped,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with Montenegro’s Pobjeda daily. “We are sending to Kosovo another 500 troops from the NATO operative reserve forces for the Western Balkans, and have raised the level of combat readiness of another reserve battalion, which can be deployed, too, if required. These are sensible steps to make sure that the KFOR should have the power and capacity it needs to serve its mandates,” the NATO secretary-general said in an interview for Pobjeda.
The KFOR mission will take all necessary actions to ensure a safe and secure environment and the freedom of movement for everyone in Kosovo, and we will continue to act without bias, under the U.N. mandate we were given based on the 1999 U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, Stoltenberg explained.
The NATO chief has warned that violence is pushing back not only Kosovo, but the entire region as well, challenging their Euro-Atlantic aspirations, too. “Both Pristina and Belgrade must take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation, refrain from irresponsible actions and join the EU-supported dialogue, which is the only path to permanent peace,” Stoltenberg said, adding that the Alliance would continue to play its role in order to support durable security in Kosovo and stability across the Western Balkans.